Table 2

Comparison of clinical, treatment, sputum and blood characteristics before and after an initiation/increased dose of ICS

Patients before an initiation/increased dose of ICS
(N=101)
Patients after an initiation/increased dose of ICS
(N=101)
P value
ACQ2.1±1.21.7±1.30.003
Mini-AQLQ4.6±1.44.9±1.50.0008
Number of severe exacerbations in the previous year*0.6±0.2†0.2±0.1†0.10
Prebronchodilator FEV1, % predicted79.1±18.981.7±19.80.08
PC20M, mg/mL1.58 (0.30–3.82)‡3.42 (0.93–>16)‡0.001
ICS dose, beclomethasone equivalents400 (0–800)1000 (800–2000)
LABA, n (%)51 (51)91 (90)<0.0001
LTRA, n (%)21 (21)24 (24)0.65
Theophylline, n (%)3 (3)3 (3)1.0
Antihistamine, n (%)18 (18)19 (19)1.0
FENO, ppb60 (24–98)§26 (16–52)§<0.0001
Sputum total non-squamous cell count, × 106/g1.48 (0.66–3.56)1.46 (0.72–3.09)0.81
Sputum viability, %72 (54–84)68 (55–82)0.67
Sputum squamous cells, %13 (5–24)14 (5–28)0.22
Sputum eosinophils
 × 103/g221 (43–696)45 (7–266)<0.0001
 % of non-squamous cells13.2 (3.8–36.0)3.8 (0.4–15.4)<0.0001
Sputum neutrophils
 × 103/g460 (171–1352)744 (286–1697)0.13
 % of non-squamous cells38.6 (20.2–64.4)59.8 (37.6–79.4)<0.0001
Sputum macrophages
 × 103/g302 (99–957)253 (98–642)0.40
 % of non-squamous cells22.8 (9.6–34.8)18.8 (8.8–31.8)0.22
Sputum lymphocytes
 × 103/g21 (2–52)13 (2–39)0.21
 % of non-squamous cells1.2 (0.4–2.4)1.2 (0.2–2.5)0.83
Sputum epithelial cells
 × 103/g41 (14–152)37 (8–119)0.73
 % of non-squamous cells3.4 (1.4–6.8)2.6 (1.0–7.6)0.57
Blood leucocytes, × 109/L7.66 (6.47–8.77)7.59 (6.47–9.04)0.37
Blood eosinophils
 /µL272 (185–509)221 (122–413)<0.0001
 %3.8 (2.3–5.7)2.9 (1.6–5.6)<0.0001
Blood neutrophils
 /µL3976 (3201–4895)4098 (3466–5344)0.25
 %53.4 (46.6–58.8)54.8 (50.4–62.4)0.0007
Blood monocytes
 /µL513 (385–668)559 (414–692)0.22
 %6.5 (5.3–8.2)7.1 (5.7–8.6)0.046
Blood lymphocytes
 /µL2527(2083–2926)2329 (1771–2900)0.021
 %33.2 (26.6–38.0)31.3 (26.1–36.9)0.061
Blood basophils
 /µL43 (25–63)38 (22–50)0.016
 %0.5 (0.4–0.7)0.4 (0.3–0.6)0.026
CRP, mg/L1.9 (0.7–3.9)¶1.5 (0.8–4.3)¶0.66
Fibrinogen, g/L3.3 (2.8–3.7)**3.3 (2.8–3.6)**0.83
  • *Data are presented as mean±SEM.

  • Data available for both visits in: †35, 27, §91, ¶69 and **64 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.