Asthma versus chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the Dutch versus British hypothesis, and role of interleukin-5

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Asthma and COPD represent heterogeneous disorders with broad ranging impact on patients and health systems. This review focuses on evidence for early attempts at understanding their pathogenesis by the British and Dutch hypotheses. It also addresses the role of eosinophils, IL-5, and biologics targeting these pathways in asthma and COPD.

Recent findings

Among asthma and COPD patients, clusters exist based on phenotypic and biologic markers allowing for further understanding of endotypes. Recent studies suggest the role of eosinophils and optimal therapies for each condition may be different.

Summary

Although patients with ACOS or overlap symptoms may be an exception, overall there appears to be more evidence supporting that asthma and COPD are distinct processes. Targeting eosinophils with anti-IL-5 therapy appears to be an exciting pathway in the properly selected patient with asthma and recent data also supports its use in COPD.

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