Blood Neutrophil Counts Define Specific Clusters of Bronchiectasis Patients: A Hint to Differential Clinical Phenotypes

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Wang, Xuejie
Olveira, Casilda
Girón, Rosa
García Clemente, Marta
Máiz, Luis
Sibila, Oriol
Golpe, Rafael
Menéndez, Rosario
Prados, Concepción
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We sought to investigate differential phenotypic characteristics according to neutrophil counts, using a biostatistics approach in a large-cohort study from the Spanish Online Bronchiectasis Registry (RIBRON). The 1034 patients who met the inclusion criteria were clustered into two groups on the basis of their blood neutrophil levels. Using the Mann–Whitney U test to explore potential differences according to FACED and EFACED scores between the two groups, a neutrophil count of 4990 cells/µL yielded the most balanced cluster sizes: (1) above-threshold (n = 337) and (2) below-threshold (n = 697) groups. Patients above the threshold showed significantly worse lung function parameters and nutritional status, while systemic inflammation levels were higher than in the below-threshold patients. In the latter group, the proportions of patients with mild disease were greater, while a more severe disease was present in the above-threshold patients. According to the blood neutrophil counts using biostatistics analyses, two distinct clinical phenotypes of stable patients with non-CF bronchiectasis were defined. Patients falling into the above-threshold cluster were more severe. Severity was characterized by a significantly impaired lung function parameters and nutritional status, and greater systemic inflammation. Phenotypic profiles of bronchiectasis patients are well defined as a result of the cluster analysis of combined systemic and respiratory variables.