Table 3

Comparison of clinical, treatment, sputum and blood characteristics before and after a cessation/decreased dose of ICS

Patients before a cessation/decreased dose of ICS (N=60)Patients after a cessation/decreased dose of ICS (N=60)P value
ACQ2.0±1.31.8±1.20.19
Mini-AQLQ4.3±1.54.6±1.50.066
Number of severe exacerbations in the previous year*0.7±0.3†0.2±0.1†0.009
Prebronchodilator FEV1, % predicted79.0±17.878.0±20.00.54
PC20M, mg/mL16.00 (4.17->16)‡3.68 (1.52->16)‡0.069
ICS dose, beclomethasone equivalents1600 (900–2100)450 (0–1100)
LABA, n (%)50 (83)42 (70)0.057
LTRA, n (%)18 (30)16 (27)0.63
Theophylline, n (%)1 (2)1 (2)1.0
Antihistamine, n (%)11 (18)16 (27)0.13
FENO, ppb18 (12–48)§23 (13–47)§0.63
Sputum total non-squamous cell count, × 106/g1.18 (0.53–3.51)1.21 (0.65–2.67)0.99
Sputum viability, %70 (63–81)68 (58–80)0.54
Sputum squamous cells, %16 (4–29)14 (3–28)0.52
Sputum eosinophils
 × 103/g14 (1–120)44 (5–239)0.008
 % of non-squamous cells1.9 (0.2–6.9)2.8 (0.7–15.5)0.016
Sputum neutrophils
 × 103/g535 (146–1770)854 (242–1469)0.64
 % of non-squamous cells48.9 (25.4–77.8)61.0 (36.6–78.6)0.13
Sputum macrophages
 × 103/g353 (115–744)247 (113–696)0.39
 % of non-squamous cells28.6 (11.2–54.9)19.0 (11.3–34.7)0.006
Sputum lymphocytes
 × 103/g11 (2–50)13 (6–56)0.09
 % of non-squamous cells1.2 (0.4–2.1)1.4 (0.6–2.8)0.19
Sputum epithelial cells
 × 103/g53 (7–141)49 (16–127)0.91
 % of non-squamous cells3.5 (1.0–9.9)4.9 (1.6–8.9)0.53
Blood leucocytes, × 109/L7.68 (6.54–9.47)7.42 (6.25–9.09)0.21
Blood eosinophils
 /µL207 (119–362)246 (138–449)0.08
 %2.6 (1.8–4.5)3.5 (1.8–5.4)0.029
Blood neutrophils
 /µL4476 (3530–5506)3890 (3157–5438)0.016
 %58.8 (53.3–63.7)54.3 (49.6–61.9)0.023
Blood monocytes
 /µL482 (387–629)520 (430–637)0.27
 %6.4 (5.1–7.5)7.5 (5.4–9.2)0.046
Blood lymphocytes
 /µL2260 (1749–2612)2382 (1955–2945)0.27
 %28.9 (25.9–34.1)33.0 (26.8–37.9)0.022
Blood basophils
 /µL38 (23–51)38 (25–42)0.17
 %0.4 (0.4–0.7)0.5 (0.3–0.6)0.46
CRP, mg/L2.9 (1.0–6.4)¶2.0 (0.7–5.4)¶0.14
Fibrinogen, g/L3.5 (3.1–4.1)**3.5 (3.0–3.7)**0.22
  • *Data are presented as mean±SEM.

  • Data available for both visits in: 19, ‡16, §50, ¶32 and **28 patients.

  • ACQ, Asthma Control Questionnaire; AQLQ, Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire; CRP, C reactive protein; FENO, fractional exhaled nitric oxide; FEV1, forced expiratory volume in 1 s; ICS, inhaled corticosteroid; LABA, long-acting β2 agonist; LTRA, leukotriene receptor antagonist; PC20M, provocative concentration of methacholine causing a 20% fall in FEV1; ppb, parts per billion.