Exacerbation-prone asthma in the context of race and ancestry in Asthma Clinical Research Network trials

Nicole L. Grossman, Victor E. Ortega, Tonya S. King, Eugene R. Bleecker, Elizabeth A. Ampleford, Leonard B. Bacharier, Michael D. Cabana, Juan C. Cardet, Tara F. Carr, Mario Castro, Loren C. Denlinger, Joshua L. Denson, Nicolas Fandino, Anne M. Fitzpatrick, Gregory A. Hawkins, Fernando Holguin, Jerry A. Krishnan, Stephen C. Lazarus, Sharmilee M. Nyenhuis, Wanda PhipatanakulSima K. Ramratnam, Sally Wenzel, Stephen P. Peters, Deborah A. Meyers, Michael E. Wechsler, Elliot Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Minority groups of African descent experience disproportionately greater asthma morbidity compared with other racial groups, suggesting that genetic variation from a common ancestry could influence exacerbation risk. Objective: We evaluated clinical trial measures in the context of self-reported race and genetic ancestry to identify risk factors for asthma exacerbations. Methods: One thousand eight hundred forty multiethnic subjects from 12 Asthma Clinical Research Network and AsthmaNet trials were analyzed for incident asthma exacerbations with Poisson regression models that included clinical measures, self-reported race (black, non-Hispanic white, and other), and estimates of global genetic African ancestry in a subgroup (n = 760). Results: Twenty-four percent of 1840 subjects self-identified as black. Black and white subjects had common risk factors for exacerbations, including a history of 2 or more exacerbations in the previous year and FEV1 percent predicted values, whereas chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease were only associated with increased exacerbation risk in black subjects. In the combined multiethnic cohort, neither race (P = .30) nor percentage of genetic African ancestry as a continuous variable associated with exacerbation risk (adjusted rate ratio [RR], 1.26 [95% CI, 0.94-1.70; P = .13]; RR per 1-SD change [32% ancestry], 0.97 [95% CI, 0.78-1.19; P = .74]). However, in 161 black subjects with genetic data, those with African ancestry greater than the median (≥82%) had a significantly greater risk of exacerbation (RR, 3.06 [95% CI, 1.09-8.6; P = .03]). Conclusion: Black subjects have unique risk factors for asthma exacerbations, of which global African genetic ancestry had the strongest effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1524-1533
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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