Trial of thromboxane receptor inhibition with ifetroban: TP receptors regulate eicosanoid homeostasis in aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2023 Sep;152(3):700-710.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2023.03.030. Epub 2023 Apr 15.


Background: Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is the triad of asthma, nasal polyposis, and respiratory reactions to COX-1 inhibitors. Overproduction of cysteinyl leukotrienes and underproduction of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) are hallmarks of AERD. A mouse model predicted a key role for the thromboxane-prostanoid (TP) receptor in AERD.

Objective: Our aim was to determine whether ifetroban, a TP receptor antagonist, attenuates aspirin-induced respiratory symptoms in patients with AERD.

Methods: A total of 35 patients with AERD completed a 4-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of ifetroban and underwent an oral aspirin challenge. The primary outcome was change in the provocative dose of aspirin that caused a 2-point increase in Total Nasal Symptom Score. Changes in lung function, eicosanoid levels, and platelet and mast cell activation were assessed. Cultured human nasal fibroblasts were stimulated with or without the TP agonist U46619 and assayed for prostanoid production.

Results: Ifetroban was well tolerated in AERD and did not change the mean 2-point increase in Total Nasal Symptom Score (P = .763). Participants taking ifetroban had greater aspirin-induced nasal symptoms and a greater decline in FEV1 value than did participants receiving placebo (-18.8% ± 3.6% with ifetroban vs -8.4% ± 2.1% with placebo [P = .017]). Four weeks of ifetroban significantly increased urinary leukotriene E4 levels and decreased nasal PGE2 levels compared with placebo. Peak aspirin-induced urinary thromboxane levels correlated with peak urinary leukotriene E4 and prostaglandin D2 metabolite levels in participants taking ifetroban. U46119 significantly potentiated the production of PGE2 by cultured nasal fibroblasts from subjects with AERD but not by cultured nasal fibroblasts from controls without polypoid sinusitis.

Conclusion: Contrary to our hypothesis, TP receptor blockade worsened aspirin-induced reactions in AERD, possibly by exacerbating dysregulation of the eicosanoid system. TP signaling on stromal cells may be critical to maintaining PGE2 production when COX-2 function is low.

Keywords: AERD; Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease; Samter triad; ifetroban; mast cell; platelet; thromboxane receptor.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Asthma, Aspirin-Induced* / diagnosis
  • Asthma, Aspirin-Induced* / drug therapy
  • Dinoprostone
  • Eicosanoids
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Leukotriene E4
  • Mice
  • Prostaglandins
  • Receptors, Thromboxane / therapeutic use
  • Sinusitis* / chemically induced
  • Thromboxanes / therapeutic use


  • Prostaglandins
  • ifetroban
  • Thromboxanes
  • Leukotriene E4
  • Receptors, Thromboxane
  • Aspirin
  • Eicosanoids
  • Dinoprostone