Association between exhaled inflammatory markers and asthma control in children

J Breath Res. 2016 Feb 19;10(1):016014. doi: 10.1088/1752-7155/10/1/016014.


The relationship between exhaled inflammatory markers and asthma control in children is unclear. To explore the association between inflammatory markers in exhaled breath (fractional nitric oxide (FeNO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cytokines/chemokines) and asthma control. To assess whether exhaled inflammatory markers are able to discriminate between children with persistently controlled/uncontrolled asthma. 96 asthmatic children were followed-up in a one-year observational study. Every 2 months, the following parameters were assessed: asthma control, FeNO, lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC), exhaled VOCs, and cytokines/chemokines in exhaled breath condensate (EBC). Random Forest was used to analyse the relationship between exhaled inflammatory markers and asthma control. For each model, patients were randomly selected for a training set and validation set. To assess the accuracy of the classification models, receiver operating characteristic-curves (ROC-curves) were generated. No significant association was found between the exhaled inflammatory markers (FeNO, markers in EBC, VOCs) and asthma control (area under the ROC-curve 49%). However, 15 exhaled VOCs could discriminate between subgroups of children with persistently controlled and uncontrolled asthma during all clinical visits (area under the ROC-curve 86%). Adding FeNO and markers in EBC to this model, did not lead to a more accurate classification (area under the ROC-curve 87%). There was no association between exhaled inflammatory markers and asthma control in children. However, children with persistently controlled or uncontrolled asthma during the 12 month study period could be discriminated by a set of VOCs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Breath Tests*
  • Child
  • Cytokines / analysis*
  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vital Capacity / physiology
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Nitric Oxide