Bronchoscopy-guided bronchial epithelium sampling as a tool for selecting the optimal biologic treatment in a patient with severe asthma: A case report

Chin Wei Kuo, Xin Min Liao, Yi Ching Huang, Han Yu Chang, Chi Chang Shieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are numerous biologics for treating patients with severe asthma. A cost-effective method for selecting the most appropriate biologic therapy for a patient is thus important. Bronchoscopy-guided bronchial epithelium sampling may provide information for determining the type of inflammation in the airways of severe asthma patients through immunochemical analysis and thus help clinicians select the correct biologics. Case presentation: We report the case of a female with severe asthma and eosinophilia who initially responded to omalizumab treatment. She developed an allergic reaction after four injections of omalizumab. Omalizumab desensitization was successfully conducted. To select an appropriate biologic agent after this hypersensitivity episode, we performed bronchoscopy-guided bronchial epithelium sampling. Omalizumab treatment was resumed based on the findings of immunohistochemical staining after a successful desensitization procedure, leading to long-term control of her severe asthma. Conclusions: Selecting an adequate biologic agent for severe, uncontrolled asthma is a challenge in clinical medical practice. Although phenotypes, blood eosinophils, and serum IgE levels have been proposed for use as a reference, there is a dissociation between the blood immune-cell level and the airway epithelium immune reaction, as confirmed in previous studies. Airway epithelium immunohistochemistry staining for targeted immune cells has been used to determine various types of airway inflammation; however, this technique is rarely used in a clinical setting. Previous studies have revealed the relative safety of performing bronchoscopy biopsies for patients with severe asthma. Among the sampling techniques used for tissue diagnosis, including nasal biopsies, nasal or bronchial brushing, and bronchoalveolar lavage, bronchoscopy-guided bronchial epithelium sampling provides more accurate information about the epithelial and inflammatory cells in the tissue context. It is thus a powerful tool for selecting the most suitable biologics in difficult clinical conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number76
JournalAllergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 27

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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