The effects of antifungal therapy on severe asthma with fungal sensitization and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis

Respirology. 2009 Nov;14(8):1121-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2009.01640.x.


Background and objective: Very little is known about the response rates to or appropriateness of treatment for patients with allergic fungal diseases of the lung. This study assessed the effect of antifungal therapy in patients with severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS) and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA).

Methods: A retrospective cohort study of 33 adult patients who fulfilled the criteria for either SAFS (n = 22) or ABPA (n = 11) was conducted. All patients had received antifungal therapy for at least 6 months. The primary study end point was the effect of antifungal therapy on patients' lung function.

Results: Overall, total IgE values and radioallergosorbent test (RAST) for A. fumigatus markedly decreased after 6 months of therapy in both SAFS and ABPA patients (P = 0.004 and P = 0.005, respectively). Reduction was seen in the eosinophil count (P = 0.037), dose of oral steroids (P = 0.043) and courses of systemic steroids required (P = 0.041). Lung function also improved (P = 0.016). Four of 10 patients discontinued oral steroids after 6 months of therapy. Reduction in IgE levels (P = 0.015) and RAST for A. fumigatus was also observed (P = 0.006) for those patients treated for at least 1 year with antifungal drugs.

Conclusions: Both ABPA and SAFS patients benefited from oral antifungal therapy. The antifungal therapy may act by reducing the antigenic load, interacting with corticosteroids or by a direct immunological effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / immunology
  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary / microbiology*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / immunology
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / pathogenicity
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / microbiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Itraconazole / therapeutic use*
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Itraconazole
  • Immunoglobulin E