Therapeutic antibodies: A new era in the treatment of respiratory diseases?

Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Sep;189:149-172. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2018.05.003. Epub 2018 May 4.


Respiratory diseases affect millions of people worldwide, and account for significant levels of disability and mortality. The treatment of lung cancer and asthma with therapeutic antibodies (Abs) is a breakthrough that opens up new paradigms for the management of respiratory diseases. Antibodies are becoming increasingly important in respiratory medicine; dozens of Abs have received marketing approval, and many more are currently in clinical development. Most of these Abs target asthma, lung cancer and respiratory infections, while very few target chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - one of the most common non-communicable causes of death - and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Here, we review Abs approved for or in clinical development for the treatment of respiratory diseases. We notably highlight their molecular mechanisms, strengths, and likely future trends.

Keywords: Antibody; Asthma; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; Lung cancer; Respiratory infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Antibodies