TORONTO – Omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech) decreased asthma exacerbations and improved symptom control to a similar extent in patients with asthma chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (ACO) overlap as seen in patients with asthma but no COPD, in a study presented at the CHEST annual meeting.
While patients with COPD typically experience annual declines in lung function, at least some of the ACO patients in this study, which included one of the largest observational cohorts to date of patients with ACO, showed preserved lung function after 48 weeks of omalizumab treatment.
Dr. Hanania presented data from the “real-world” PROSPERO (Prospective Study to Evaluate Predictors of Clinical Effectiveness in Response to Omalizumab), which unlike many asthma studies, did not exclude patients with comorbid COPD. PROSPERO was a prospective, multicenter, observational, 48-week study of patients (n = 806) who were 12 years of age and older who were initiating omalizumab treatment for moderate to severe allergic asthma. Asthma control was assessed monthly using the Asthma Control Test (ACT).
Participants were identified as having ACO based on two approaches: 1. A positive medical history of asthma and COPD, or 2. A medical history of asthma (but not COPD), at least a 10-pack per year smoking history, and an forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) of less than 0.7. From the 728 study participants included in this secondary analysis, 56 were classified as ACO according to the first definition (ACO cohort A) and 59 according to the second (ACO cohort B). Thirty-seven patients fell into both groups.
“All groups had a reduction in their exacerbation rates through 12 months, and it didn’t differ whether they had ACO in cohort A or cohort B, or no ACO,” Dr. Hanania reported.
Additionally, all three groups showed clinically meaningful improvements in their ACT scores, with mean improvements of 4.1, 4.7, and 4.4 units for ACO cohort A, ACO cohort B, and non-ACO patients, respectively.
Postbronchodilator FEV1 at study end was improved by 36 mL in ACO cohort A and by 23 mL in the non-ACO cohort. But a 14 mL reduction in postbronchodilator FEV1 was noted in ACO cohort B, “a reminder that the cohort B population was those patients with fixed airway obstruction and smoking history,” said Dr. Hanania.
Mean age in the non-ACO population was 50 years, rising to 57.6 years in ACO cohort A and 55 years in ACO cohort B. All three groups had three or more asthma exacerbations in the 12 months before starting omalizumab, and all groups had mean ACT scores of less than 15 at baseline, indicating that they were all symptomatic.
Adverse events were consistent with the known safety profile of omalizumab.
“The significance of this study [is that] it’s one of the largest ACO cohorts that we know of and I think it encourages all of us to look at or re-visit both COPD therapies and asthma therapies in populations [not included] in clinical trials because in real life, these are the patients we see … and we don’t have evidence,” Dr. Hanania said.
Dr. Hanania reported receiving research support from Roche/Genentech, among other companies. Three of the investigators are employees of Genentech, the study’s sponsor.