Comparison of sinonasal histopathological changes in biological treatment of eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis

Jacqueline Ho*, Raquel Alvarado, Janet Rimmer, William A. Sewell, Sophie Walter, Peter Earls, Raewyn G. Campbell, Raymond Sacks, Larry H. Kalish, Richard J. Harvey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Biologic therapies such as mepolizumab and benralizumab are currently utilised in the treatment of eosinophilic asthma, and are emerging in the management of eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis (eCRS). These biologics inhibit the interaction of IL-5 with its receptor, thus impairing cytokine signalling and eosinophil inflammation. Mepolizumab does so by targeting IL-5, whereas benralizumab targets the α chain of the IL-5 receptor. This study compares the sinonasal tissue response to anti-IL-5 biologic therapies in patients with eCRS. Methods: A cross-sectional study of adult eCRS patients who had completed at least 2 cycles of biologic therapy and underwent endoscopic sinus surgery as part of their management were included. Sinonasal mucosal tissue biopsies were obtained intraoperatively and assessed with structured histopathological examination. Comparisons of tissue histopathology outcomes following treatment with mepolizumab or benralizumab were performed. Results: 18 patients (age 49.6 ± 14.2 years, 47% female, 100% co-morbid asthma) were included in this study, comprising 10 patients managed with mepolizumab and 8 patients managed with benralizumab. Even after mepolizumab, the tissue had predominantly eosinophilic inflammation compared to benralizumab (90% v 0%, p < 0.01), which demonstrated a greater lymphoplasmacytic inflammation (10% v 75%, χ2(2) = 14.53, p < 0.01). Compared with benralizumab, mepolizumab had increased tissue eosinophil count (100% v 37.5% >10 eosinophils/HPF, τb = −8.47, p < 0.001) and more severe subepithelial oedema (80% v 37.5% severe, τb = −2.37, p = 0.02). Conclusion: Tissue histopathologic outcomes reflect the differing mechanism of action of mepolizumab and benralizumab in eCRS. Further analysis at the tissue level will provide further information to guide application of mAbs in type 2 inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Early online date6 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2021


  • biologic
  • chronic rhinosinusitis
  • eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis
  • eosinophils
  • monoclonal antibody

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