02 July 2020
The 6 gene expression signature (6GS) predicts inflammatory phenotype, exacerbation risk, and corticosteroid responsiveness in asthma. In COPD, patterns of airway inflammation are similar, suggesting the 6GS may be useful. This study determines the diagnostic and prognostic ability of 6GS in predicting inflammatory phenotypes and exacerbation risk in COPD.
We performed 2 studies: a cross-sectional phenotype prediction study in stable COPD (total N=132; n=34 eosinophilic (E)-COPD, n=42 neutrophilic (N)-COPD, n=39 paucigranulocytic (PG)-COPD, n=17 mixed-granulocytic (MG)-COPD) that assessed 6GS ability to discriminate phenotypes (eosinophilia≥3%; neutrophilia≥61%); and a prospective cohort study (total n=54, n=8 E-COPD; n=18 N-COPD; n=20 PG-COPD; n=8 MG-COPD, n=21 exacerbation prone (≥2/year)) that investigated phenotype and exacerbation prediction utility. 6GS was measured by qPCR and evaluated using multiple logistic regression and area under the curve (AUC). Short-term reproducibility (intra-class correlation) and phenotyping method agreement (κ statistic) were assessed.
In the phenotype prediction study, 6GS could accurately identify and discriminate patients with E-COPD from N-COPD (AUC=96.4%; p<0.0001), PG-COPD (AUC=88.2%; p<0.0001) or MG-COPD (AUC=86.2%; p=0.0001), as well as N-COPD from PG-COPD (AUC=83.6%; p<0.0001) or MG-COPD (AUC=87.4%; p<0.0001) and was reproducible. In the prospective cohort study, 6GS had substantial agreement for neutrophilic inflammation (82%, κ=0.63, p<0.001) and moderate agreement for eosinophilic inflammation (78%, κ=0.42, p<0.001). 6GS could significantly discriminate exacerbation prone patients (AUC=77.2%; p=0.034). Higher IL1B levels were associated with poorer lung function and increased COPD severity.