Low-Blood Lymphocyte Number and Lymphocyte Decline as Key Factors in COPD Outcomes: A Longitudinal Cohort Study

Umberto Semenzato, Davide Biondini, Erica Bazzan, Mariaenrica Tiné, Elisabetta Balestro, Barbara Buldini, Santiago J Carizzo, Pablo Cubero, Marta Marin-Oto, Alvise Casara, Simonetta Baraldo, Graziella Turato (+4 others)
2021 Respiration  
Smokers with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at risk of severe outcomes like exacerbations, cancer, respiratory failure, and decreased survival. The mechanisms for these outcomes are unclear; however, there is evidence that blood lymphocytes (BL) number might play a role. The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between BL and their possible decline over time with long-term outcomes in smokers with and without COPD. In 511 smokers, 302 with
more » ... (COPD) and 209 without COPD (noCOPD), followed long term, we investigated whether BL number and BL decline over time might be associated with long-term outcomes. Smokers were divided according to BL number in high-BL (≥1,800 cells/µL) and low-BL (<1,800 cells/µL). Clinical features, cancer incidence, and mortality were recorded during follow-up. BL count in multiple samples and BL decline over time were calculated and related to outcomes. BL count was lower in COPD (1,880 cells/µL) than noCOPD (2,300 cells/µL; p < 0.001). 43% of COPD and 23% of noCOPD had low-BL count (p < 0.001). BL decline over time was higher in COPD than noCOPD (p = 0.040). 22.5% of the whole cohort developed cancer which incidence was higher in low-BL subjects and in BL decliners than high-BL (31 vs. 18%; p = 0.001) and no decliners (32 vs. 19%; p = 0.002). 26% in the cohort died during follow-up. Furthermore, low-BL count, BL decline, and age were independent risk factors for mortality by Cox regression analysis. BL count and BL decline are related to worse outcomes in smokers with and without COPD, which suggests that BL count and decline might play a mechanistic role in outcomes deterioration. Insights into mechanisms inducing the fall in BL count could improve the understanding of COPD pathogenesis and point toward new therapeutic measures.
doi:10.1159/000515180 pmid:33902057 fatcat:skcpmoylxbeadk5z73knph6kqq