Comorbid Respiratory Disease Key Predictor of NTM-PD

Patients with comorbid respiratory disease were significantly more likely to develop nontuberculosis mycobacterial pulmonary disease (NTM-PD), data from a systematic review of 99 studies indicate.

NTM-PD is frequently underdiagnosed, and data on specific risk factors are lacking, especially for high-risk individuals with preexisting respiratory diseases, write Michael R. Loebinger, PhD, of Imperial College London, United Kingdom, and colleagues.

“NTM-PD can be a substantial burden for patients, contributing to lung function decline and reduced health-related quality of life, and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality,” they say.

In a study published in the journal Chest, the researchers identified 99 studies published between 2011 and 2021. Of these, 24 reported an association between risk factors and NTM-PD among patients with respiratory disease compared to patients without NTM-PD and to healthy control persons without NTM-PD; these studies were included in the meta-analysis.

Overall, comorbid respiratory disease was significantly associated with an increased risk of NTM-PD, with odds ratios ranging from 4.15 for asthma to 21.43 for bronchiectasis. Other conditions significantly associated with NTM-PD risk included history of tuberculosis (odds ratio [OR], 12.69), interstitial lung disease (OR, 6.39), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (OR, 6.63).

Other factors associated with increased NTM-PD risk included inhaled corticosteroids (OR, 4.46), oral corticosteroids (OR, 3.37), and other immunosuppressants (OR, 2.60). Additional risk factors were use of antitumor necrosis factor-alpha for rheumatoid arthritis (OR, 2.13), solid tumors (OR, 4.66), current pneumonia (OR, 5.54), cardiovascular disease (OR, 1.73), and low body mass index (BMI) (OR, 3.04).

Additional marginal or nonsignificant associations with NTM-PD risk were found for lung function, diabetes, renal disease, cancer, healthy weight, and infection with either Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus.

Possible protective factors, though not significant, included increasing or high BMI and long-term macrolide use.

Bronchiectasis, which is associated with the highest risk of NTM-PD, was assessed in four studies. It was evaluated less frequently because it was often considered a reason for study exclusion, the researchers write in their discussion.

“However, many studies report high numbers of patients with nodular bronchiectatic NTM-PD and is suggested to be almost universal in patients with noncavitary NTM-PD,” they say.

The most common risk factors for NTM-PD in the included studies were the use of immunosuppressants, female sex, COPD comorbidity, and history of suspected tuberculosis.

The findings were limited by several factors, including the high level of heterogeneity among the included studies, the lack of data on attributable risk, and inconsistent definitions of NTM-PD, the researchers note. However, the results may be useful for highlighting risk factors that could be used to identify high-risk patients and to promote early diagnosis and treatment, they say. In addition, long-term studies are needed regarding the impact of multiple potential risk factors on individual risk for NTM-PD among patients with respiratory disease, they conclude.

The study was supported by Insmed BV. Loebinger has relationships with Insmed, AstraZeneca, Chiesi, Savara, Parion, Zambon, 30T, Electromed, Recdoe, AN2 Therapeutics, and Armata.

Chest. Published online June 17, 2023. Abstract

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