Phenotypes and endotypes of adult asthma: Moving toward precision medicine

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019 Jul;144(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2019.05.031.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that is challenging to dissect into subgroups because of the heterogeneity present across the spectrum of the disease. Efforts to subclassify asthma using advanced computational methods have identified a number of different phenotypes that suggest that multiple pathobiologically driven clusters of disease exist. The main phenotypes that have been identified include (1) early-onset allergic asthma, (2) early-onset allergic moderate-to-severe remodeled asthma, (3) late-onset nonallergic eosinophilic asthma, and (4) late-onset nonallergic noneosinophilic asthma. Subgroups of these phenotypes also exist but have not been as consistently identified. Advances in our understanding of the diverse immunologic perturbations that drive airway inflammation are consistent with clinical traits associated with these phenotypes and their response to biologic therapies. This has improved the clinician's approach to characterizing asthmatic patients in the clinic. Being able to define asthma endotypes using clinical characteristics and biomarkers will move physicians toward even more personalized management of asthma and precision-based care in the future. Here we will review the most prominent phenotypes and immunologic advances that suggest these disease subtypes represent asthma endotypes.

Keywords: Asthma; biologics; endotypes; heterogeneity; phenotypes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Asthma / classification*
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Precision Medicine