Do we really need asthma–chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome?

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Abstract

The association of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the same patient, which is designated as mixed asthma-COPD phenotype or overlap syndrome (ACOS), remains a controversial issue. This is primarily because many conflicting aspects in the definition of ACOS remain, and it is extremely difficult to summarize the distinctive features of this syndrome. Furthermore, we are realizing that asthma, COPD, and ACOS are not single diseases but rather syndromes consisting of several endotypes and phenotypes and, consequently, comprising a spectrum of diseases. The umbrella term ACOS blurs the lines between asthma and COPD and allows an approach that simplifies therapy. However, this approach contradicts the modern concept according to which we must move toward more targeted and personalized therapies to treat patients with these diseases. Therefore we argue that the term ACOS must be abandoned and ultimately replaced when new phenotypes and underlying endotypes are identified and a new taxonomy of airway diseases is generated.

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