Saturday, June 24, 2017

Adherence to COPD treatment: Myth and reality (article from 2017 Respiratory Medicine)

Great Respiratory article from our Italian Friends!!! 


  • The level of medication adherence in COPD patients is very low

  • Approaches to assess adherence of COPD are burdened with important limitations. 

  • Patient views on therapy effectiveness are powerful predictors of reported adherence. 

  • The physician can affect adherence in COPD with his/her prescription. 

  • In COPD, adherence to inhalation medication is device-related.

COPD is a chronic disease in which effective management requires long-term adherence to pharmacotherapies but the level of adhesion to the prescribed medications is very low and this has a negative influence on outcomes. There are several approaches to detect non-adherence, such as pharmacy refill methods, electronic monitoring, and self-report measures, but they are all burdened with important limitations. Medication adherence in COPD is multifactorial and is affected by patients (health beliefs, cognitive abilities, self-efficacy, comorbidities, psychological profile, conscientiousness), physicians (method of administration, dosing regimen, polypharmacy, side effects), and society (patient-prescriber relationship, social support, access to medication, device training, follow-up). Patient-health care professional communication, especially that between patient and physician or pharmacist, is central to optimizing patient adherence. However, the most realistic approach is to keep in mind that non-adherence is always possible, indeed, probable.
Article is HERE!!! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

To sleep, or not to sleep – that is the question, for polysomnography (Free full text from Breathe)

As the English dramatist Thomas Dekker wrote, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”. One of the most frequently sleep-related disorders (SRD) is obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS). OSAS is a relatively “young” disease and at the same time, one of the most important respiratory conditions discovered in the last 50 years due to its incidence, prevalence, health-related impact on the patient’s life and economic burden.

Nevertheless, 50 years is still a large amount of time and our understanding of OSAS has grown significantly over these years. The first reports discussed how to diagnose this rare condition. Later, it was demonstrated that the disease itself is not that rare and is extremely underdiagnosed. This was only the tip of the iceberg, since it was furthermore discovered that OSAS is linked to multiple comorbidities and is a major healthcare problem. Now, we are moving further forward, and discussing more efficient ways to diagnose and manage this condition.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ashtma-Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome (ACOS): current evidence and future research directions (Free Full text from 2017 COPD Research and Practice)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma are the most frequent chronic respiratory diseases that affect the general population. For a long period of time these two conditions were considered to be separate diseases. However, it became evident that some patients share symptoms and clinical findings from both diseases.
These patients are considered to represent a distinct phenotype, called asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS). However, since approximately the one third of the asthmatics smoke the ACOS may primarily define those patients. This is a relatively newly defined clinical syndrome whose underlying mechanisms and most appropriate management remain to be confirmed. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on this syndrome, aiming to update clinicians and help their daily practice.
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Oral Glucocorticoid–Sparing Effect of Benralizumab in Severe Asthma (free full text from 2017 NEJM)

Many patients with severe asthma rely on oral glucocorticoids to manage their disease. We investigated whether benralizumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against the alpha subunit of the interleukin-5 receptor that significantly reduces the incidence of asthma exacerbations, was also effective as an oral glucocorticoid–sparing therapy in patients relying on oral glucocorticoids to manage severe asthma associated with eosinophilia.

In a 28-week randomized, controlled trial, we assessed the effects of benralizumab (at a dose of 30 mg administered subcutaneously either every 4 weeks or every 8 weeks [with the first three doses administered every 4 weeks]) versus placebo on the reduction in the oral glucocorticoid dose while asthma control was maintained in adult patients with severe asthma. The primary end point was the percentage change in the oral glucocorticoid dose from baseline to week 28. Annual asthma exacerbation rates, lung function, symptoms, and safety were assessed.


Of 369 patients enrolled, 220 underwent randomization and started receiving benralizumab or placebo. The two benralizumab dosing regimens significantly reduced the median final oral glucocorticoid doses from baseline by 75%, as compared with a reduction of 25% in the oral glucocorticoid doses in the placebo group (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The odds of a reduction in the oral glucocorticoid dose were more than 4 times as high with benralizumab as with placebo. Among the secondary outcomes, benralizumab administered every 4 weeks resulted in an annual exacerbation rate that was 55% lower than the rate with placebo (marginal rate, 0.83 vs. 1.83, P=0.003), and benralizumab administered every 8 weeks resulted in an annual exacerbation rate that was 70% lower than the rate with placebo (marginal rate, 0.54 vs. 1.83, P<0.001). At 28 weeks, there was no significant effect of either benralizumab regimen on the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), as compared with placebo. The effects on various measures of asthma symptoms were mixed, with some showing significant changes in favor of benralizumab and others not showing significant changes. Frequencies of adverse events were similar between each benralizumab group and the placebo group.
Benralizumab showed significant, clinically relevant benefits, as compared with placebo, on oral glucocorticoid use and exacerbation rates. These effects occurred without a sustained effect on the FEV1.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Imprecision in the Era of Precision Medicine in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (2017 Frontiers of Medicine free full text)

Over the past decade, major advances have been made in the management of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). There has been a particular focus on the identification and targeting of putative driver aberrations, which has propelled NSCLC to the forefront of precision medicine. Several novel molecularly targeted agents have now achieved regulatory approval, while many others are currently in late-phase clinical trial testing.
These antitumor therapies have significantly impacted the clinical outcomes of advanced NSCLC and provided patients with much hope for the future. Despite this, multiple deficiencies still exist in our knowledge of this complex disease, and further research is urgently required to overcome these critical issues. This review traces the path undertaken by the different therapeutics assessed in NSCLC and the impact of precision medicine in this disease. We also discuss the areas of “imprecision” that still exist in NSCLC and the modern hypothesis-testing studies being conducted to address these key challenges.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Long-Term Oxygen Therapy in COPD Patients Who Do Not Meet the Actual Recommendations (Hot topic article from Journal of COPD 2017)

Chronic respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an increasing problem worldwide. Many patients with severe COPD develop hypoxemic respiratory failure during the natural progression of disease. Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) is a well-established supportive treatment for COPD and has been shown to improve survival in patients who develop chronic hypoxemic respiratory failure. The degree of hypoxemia is severe when partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood (PaO2) is ≤55 mmHg and moderate if PaO2 is between 56 and 69 mmHg.
Although current guidelines consider LTOT only in patients with severe resting hypoxemia, many COPD patients with moderate to severe disease experience moderate hypoxemia at rest or during special circumstances, such as while sleeping or exercising. The efficacy of LTOT in these patients who do not meet the actual recommendations is still a matter of debate, and extensive research is still ongoing to understand the possible benefits of LTOT for survival and/or functional outcomes such as the sensation of dyspnea, exacerbation frequency, hospitalizations, exercise capacity, and quality of life. Despite its frequent use, the administration of “palliative” oxygen does not seem to improve dyspnea except for delivery with high-flow humidified oxygen. This narrative review will focus on current evidence for the effects of LTOT in the presence of moderate hypoxemia at rest, during sleep, or during exercise in COPD.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Tracking the Evolution of Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer (Free full text NEJM 2017)

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) being the most common type. Large-scale sequencing studies have revealed the complex genomic landscape of NSCLC and genomic differences between lung adenocarcinomas and lung squamous-cell carcinomas. However, in-depth exploration of NSCLC intratumor heterogeneity (which provides the fuel for tumor evolution and drug resistance) and cancer genome evolution has been limited to small retrospective cohorts. Therefore, the clinical significance of intratumor heterogeneity and the potential for clonality of driver events to guide therapeutic strategies have not yet been defined.

Tracking Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer Evolution through Therapy (TRACERx) is a multicenter, prospective cohort study, which began recruitment in April 2014 with funding from Cancer Research UK. The target enrollment is 842 patients from whom samples will be obtained for high-depth, multiregion whole-exome sequencing of surgically resected NSCLC tumors in stages IA through IIIA. One primary objective of TRACERx is to investigate the hypothesis that intratumor heterogeneity — in terms of mutations (single or dinucleotide base substitutions or small insertions and deletions) or somatic copy-number alterations (reflecting gains or losses of chromosome segments) - is associated with clinical outcome. Here, we report on the first 100 patients who were prospectively recruited in the study.
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