Benralizumab improves patient reported outcomes and functional parameters in difficult-to-treat patients with severe asthma: Data from a real-life cohort

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Oct:64:101974. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2020.101974. Epub 2020 Nov 1.


In the last decade, an increasing number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on biologic therapy in patients with severe asthma have included patient-reported outcomes (PROs) as secondary efficacy measures. The majority of these RCTs showed a benefit in symptoms and quality of life. However, the magnitude of this benefit remains uncertain, because it rarely exceeded the minimal important difference (MID), owing to a significant improvement in the control group (placebo effect). Real-life studies on biologic therapies assessing PRO are scarce. They may support and integrate RCT results through their different experimental design. This real-life retrospective study provides data on 15 patients with difficult-to-treat severe eosinophilic asthma treated with benralizumab up to 6 months. Asthma quality of life questionnaire (AQLQ) and asthma control test (ACT) were assessed and administered at each visit to minimize the Hawthorne effect. Changes in general accepted efficacy measures, such as forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), peak expiratory flux (PEF), exacerbation rate and blood eosinophils, from baseline were also assessed. AQLQ and ACT improved from 3.9 ± 0.4 to 5.2 ± 0.4 and from 15.6 ± 5.7 to 18.1 ± 5.6, respectively. FEV1 increased of about 250 ml (+14%). PEF increased from 288 ± 107 to 333 ± 133 l/min. The number of exacerbations requiring OCS courses decreased from 2.8 ± 2.2 to 0.5 ± 0.8. Eosinophil counts dropped to 25.6 ± 15 cells/microliter. In conclusion, most patients reported improvements in AQLQ and ACT greater than MID, suggesting that these outcome represent a sensitive tool in real-life effectiveness studies. Our approach reduced the limitations of transition questions and the Hawthorne effect, increasing findings reliability.

Keywords: ACT; AQLQ; Health-related quality of life outcomes; Monoclonal antibodies; Observational.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Asthma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Quality of Life


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • benralizumab