A new study finds that metabolomic analysis of urine may help differentiate asthma from COPD. According to a Healio news report, the research team 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, as indicated on the Healio news report.
A total of 61 patients with asthma and 23 patients with COPD returned in a follow-up model. The researchers withheld 16 as a test set to remove metabolites of low importance, and the model correctly classified the blinded asthma test set with 94% test accuracy.
The Healio news report indicates that the research team notes the results are from a pilot study that aimed to determine 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.
Darryl J. Adamko, MD, FRCPC, and colleagues write, “We have provided proof-of-concept evidence that urine metabolites can be used to differentiate asthma from COPD.”
The researchers add, “We believe development of urine metabolomic analysis will lead to improved diagnostic capabilities. 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.”