Treating severe asthma: Targeting the IL?5 pathway


Severe asthma is a heterogeneous disease with different phenotypes based on clinical, functional or inflammatory parameters. In particular, the eosinophilic phenotype is associated with type 2 inflammation and increased levels of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5 and IL-13). Monoclonal antibodies that target the eosinophilic inflammatory pathways (IL-5R and IL-5), namely mepolizumab, reslizumab, and benralizumab, are effective and safe for severe eosinophilic asthma. Eosinophils threshold represents the most indicative biomarker for response to treatment with all three monoclonal antibodies. Improvement in asthma symptoms scores, lung function, the number of exacerbations, history of late-onset asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis, low oral corticosteroids use and low body mass index represent predictive clinical markers of response. Novel Omics studies are emerging with proteomics data and exhaled breath analyses. These may prove useful as biomarkers of response and non-response biologics. Moreover, future biomarker studies need to be undertaken in paediatric patients affected by severe asthma. The choice of appropriate biologic therapy for severe asthma remains challenging. The importance of finding biomarkers that can predict response continuous an open issue that needs to be further explored. This review describes the clinical effects of targeting the IL-5 pathway in severe asthma in adult and paediatric patients, focusing on predictors of response and non-response.