Metabolomic analysis of human urine has the ability to differentiate asthma from COPD, according to study results.
“We have provided proof-of-concept evidence that urine metabolites can be used to differentiate asthma from COPD,” Darryl J. Adamko, MD, FRCPC, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and colleagues wrote.
Darryl J. Adamko
Adamko and colleagues collected urine-based nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy from adults with asthma (n = 133) and COPD (n = 38) before and after an exacerbation as well as in adults with stable asthma (n = 54) and COPD (n = 23).
In validating the proposed metabolomic model, the researchers entered the concentrations of metabolites from adults (n = 23) with asthma exacerbations from McMaster University into a partial least-squares discriminant analysis. The model correctly diagnosed the blinded asthma samples in 87% of the cases.
In a follow-up model, 61 patients with asthma and 23 with COPD returned. The researchers withheld 16 as a test set to remove metabolites of low importance. The model correctly classified the blinded asthma test set with 94% test accuracy.
The researchers noted that the results are from a pilot study focused on determining whether or not there is a metabolomic diagnostic signal worth pursuing and that the results indicate there is future need for this type of testing.
“We believe development of urine metabolomic analysis will lead to improved diagnostic capabilities,” the researchers wrote. “Metabolomic technology could be incorporated into a standard laboratory once the methods are fully refined. These data could also provide new insights into airway dysfunction, suggesting novel pathways for drug discovery.” – by Ryan McDonald
Disclosure: Adamko reports leading a university-based start-up seeking to develop metabolomics as a potential diagnostic test for asthma and related airways diseases. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.