The role of eosinophils in immunotherapy

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Apr;20(2):329. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000617.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to provide a brief discussion on the differential diagnosis for peripheral eosinophilia. We will then focus on targeted immunotherapies for atopic disease, their effects on absolute peripheral eosinophil counts, and use of peripheral eosinophils as a predictor of treatment response.

Recent findings: In atopic disease, lower absolute peripheral eosinophil counts are typically associated with improved outcomes. Much of the current evidence on eosinophils as a biomarker comes from post-hoc analyses in therapeutic immunotherapy. While changes in eosinophilia were not the primary outcome of interest in many studies, some patterns did emerge. Cytolytic mAbs AK002 and benralizumab completely reduce peripheral and tissue eosinophil numbers. Dupilumab may have paradoxical transient eosinophilia despite observed clinical efficacy.

Summary: Atopic inflammation is complex largely due to the various cytokines which affect eosinophils activation, proliferation, differentiation, and survival. This demonstrates the challenges of using peripheral eosinophilia alone as a biomarker for atopic disease activity. More attention should spotlight how different immunotherapy modalities affect eosinophil-driven responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Retracted Publication