Bronchial Thermoplasty Induced Airway Smooth Muscle Reduction and Clinical Response in Severe Asthma: The TASMA Randomized Trial

TASMA research group, Annika W M Goorsenberg, Julia N S d'Hooghe, Karthikan Srikanthan, Nick H T Ten Hacken, Els J M Weersink, Joris J T H Roelofs, Samuel V Kemp, Elisabeth H Bel, Pallav L Shah, Jouke T Annema, Peter I Bonta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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RATIONALE: Bronchial Thermoplasty (BT) is a bronchoscopic treatment for severe asthma targeting airway smooth muscle (ASM). Observational studies have shown ASM mass reduction after BT but appropriate control groups are lacking. Furthermore, as treatment response is variable, identifying optimal candidates for BT treatment is important.

AIMS: First, to assess the effect of BT on ASM mass and second, to identify patient characteristics that correlate with BT-response.

METHODS: Severe asthma patients (n=40) were randomized to immediate (n=20) or delayed (n=20) BT-treatment. Prior to randomization, clinical, functional, blood and airway biopsy data were collected. In the delayed control group, re-assessment, including biopsies, was performed after 6 months of standard clinical care, followed by BT. In both groups, post-BT data including biopsies were obtained after 6 months. ASM mass (% positive desmin or α-smooth muscle actin area in the total biopsy) was calculated with automated digital analyses software. Associations between baseline characteristics and Asthma Control and Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (ACQ/AQLQ) improvement were explored.

RESULTS: Median ASM mass decreased by >50% in the immediate BT group (n=17) versus no change in the delayed control group (n=19) (p=0.0004). In the immediate group ACQ scores improved with -0.79 (-1.61;0.02 IQR) compared to 0.09 (-0.25;1.17 IQR) in the delayed group (p=0.006). AQLQ scores improved with 0.83 (-0.15;1.69 IQR) versus -0.02 (-0.77;0.75 IQR) (p=0.04). Treatment response in the total group (n=35) was positively associated with serum IgE and eosinophils, but not with baseline ASM mass.

CONCLUSION: ASM mass significantly decreases after BT when compared to a randomized non-BT treated control group. Treatment response was associated with serum IgE and eosinophil levels but not with ASM mass. Clinical trial registration available at, ID:NCT0222539.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-184
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date28-Jul-2020
Publication statusPublished - 15-Jan-2021

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