BACKGROUND: Compared with adults, phenotypic characterization of children with asthma is still limited and it remains difficult to predict which children with asthma are at highest risk for poor outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: To identify latent classes in a large population of treatment-adherent children with mild to moderate asthma enrolled in clinical trials and determine whether latent class assignment predicts future lung function abnormalities and exacerbation rate.
METHODS: Latent class analysis was performed on 2593 children with mild to moderate asthma aged 5 18 years, with 19 variables encompassing demographic characteristics, medical history, symptoms, lung function, allergic sensitization, and type 2 inflammation. Outcomes included lung function and the annualized exacerbation rate at 12 months of follow-up.
RESULTS: Five latent classes were identified with differing demographic features, asthma control, sensitization, type 2 inflammatory markers, and lung function. Exacerbation rates were 1.30 ± 0.12 for class 1 (multiple sensitization with partially reversible airflow limitation), 0.90 ± 0.05 for class 2 (multiple sensitization with reversible airflow limitation), 0.87 ± 0.08 for class 3 (lesser sensitization with reversible airflow limitation), 0.87 ± 0.05 for class 4 (multiple sensitization with normal lung function), and 0.71 ± 0.06 for class 5 (lesser sensitization with normal lung function). Lung function abnormalities persisted in class 1 at 12 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Children with mild to moderate asthma are a heterogeneous group. Allergic sensitization and lung function may be particularly useful in identifying children at the greatest risk for future exacerbation. Additional studies are needed to determine whether latent classes correspond to meaningful phenotypes for the purpose of personalized treatment.
J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract
Fitzpatrick AM, Bacharier LB, Jackson DJ, Szefler SJ, Beigelman A, Cabana M, Covar R, Guilbert T, Holguin F, Lemanske RF, Martinez FD, Morgan W, Phipatanakul W, Pongracic JA, Raissy HH, Zeiger RS, Mauger DT. Heterogeneity of Mild to Moderate Persistent Asthma in Children: Confirmation by Latent Class Analysis and Association with 1-Year Outcomes. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2020 Sep;8(8):2617-2627.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2020.02.032. Epub 2020 Mar 7. PMID: 32156610; PMCID: PMC7483393.