Pinpointing the endotypes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could help predict which patients might benefit from specific treatments, according to a new review.

COPD is a heterogeneous disease as reflected by its many phenotypes, defined as a combination of clinical disease characteristics that differentiates between patients.

As phenotypes may not explain the underlying disease processes of COPD, they are not good predictors of response to treatment. Improved understanding of the pathophysiology of COPD may come from determining the endotypes, subtypes defined by distinct functional or pathophysiological mechanisms of the disease

Using information about the underlying biology to identify endotypes may assist in the efforts to develop new therapies for COPD and in treatment decisions related to new and existing therapies.

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