COPD biomarkers and phenotypes: Opportunities for better outcomes with precision imaging

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Publication Date



The European Respiratory Journal





First Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier 2018


A number of chronic diseases have benefited from both imaging and personalised medicine, but unfortunately, for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there has been little clinical uptake or recognition of the key advances in thoracic imaging that might help detect disease early, or, perhaps more importantly, might help develop and phenotype patients for novel or personalised therapies that may halt disease progression. We outline our vision for how computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging may be used to better inform COPD patient care, and, perhaps more importantly, how these may be used to help develop new therapies directed at early disease. We think that imaging and precision medicine should be considered and used together as "precision imaging" at specific stages of COPD when the major pathologies may be more responsive to therapy. While "precision medicine" is the tailoring of medical treatment to individual patients, we define "precision imaging" as the tailoring of specific therapies and interventions to individual patients with a detailed quantitative understanding of their specific imaging phenotypes and measurements. Finally, we stress the importance of "seeing" the pathology, because without this understanding, you can neither treat nor cure patients with COPD.


This is an author-submitted, peer-reviewed version of a manuscript that has been accepted for publication in the European Respiratory Journal, prior to copy-editing, formatting and typesetting. This version of the manuscript may not be duplicated or reproduced without prior permission from the copyright owner, the European Respiratory Society. The publisher is not responsible or liable for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or in any version derived from it by any other parties. The final, copy-edited, published article, which is the version of record, is available without a subscription 18 months after the date of issue publication.” The final published version is available at: 2018

Citation of this paper:

Washko GR, Parraga G. COPD biomarkers and phenotypes: opportunities for better outcomes with precision imaging. Eur Respir J 2018; 52: 1801570 [ 2018]

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