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Respir Med. 2010 Feb;104(2):188-96. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2009.09.011. Epub 2009 Oct 20.

Effect of omalizumab on peripheral blood eosinophilia in allergic asthma.

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  • 1Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., East Hanover, NJ 07936-1080, USA.


Eosinophilia is an established marker of asthma-related inflammation. We assessed the effect of omalizumab on peripheral blood eosinophil counts using a pooled analysis of data from five randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in patients with moderate-to-severe persistent allergic asthma receiving moderate-to-high-dose inhaled corticosteroids (omalizumab, n=1136; placebo, n=1100). Relationships between omalizumab, peripheral blood eosinophils, serum free IgE concentrations and clinical outcomes were explored. Baseline mean eosinophil counts were similar in each treatment group. Post-treatment eosinophil counts were significantly reduced from baseline in the omalizumab group (p<0.0001) but were not significantly different in the placebo group. Greater reductions in eosinophil counts were observed in patients who had post-treatment free IgE levels <50ng/mL. Three studies included steroid-stable and steroid-reduction phases. At the end of each phase in these studies, a significantly greater reduction in eosinophil counts was achieved in the omalizumab group compared with the placebo group (p<0.0001). A consistent pattern of improved clinical outcomes/decreased eosinophils and worsened clinical outcomes/increased eosinophils was observed for both omalizumab and placebo treatment groups. The findings from our analysis of a large patient population are consistent with earlier reports of the inhibitory effect of omalizumab on eosinophils.

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