Precision medicine in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: how far have we come?

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2022 Mar 1;28(2):115-120. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000837.


Purpose of review: In this review, we will discuss the current status and recent developments in precision medicine in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) through the lens of treatable traits.

Recent findings: Although the term 'treatable traits' in the treatment of COPD is relatively recent, this concept has been used for many years if one considers interventions such as long-term oxygen therapy or alpha-1 antitrypsin replacement therapy. Recent advances have included expanding the definition of COPD to include a broader population of people with lower respiratory disease but not meeting the strict criteria for obstruction, advances in imaging to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of COPD, advances in understanding symptoms and exacerbations to define severity, using biomarkers to guide therapy and better understanding and addressing polymorbidity and frailty. In addition, there is a concerted effort to use these concepts to identify COPD patients earlier in the disease process wherein disease modification may be possible.

Summary: Focusing on subsets of patients with COPD with certain characteristics should lead to better outcomes and fewer adverse effects from treatment.

Video abstract:

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Precision Medicine
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / therapy
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency* / diagnosis
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency* / therapy


  • Biomarkers