Distinguishing Asthma Phenotypes Using Machine Learning Approaches

Rebecca Howard, Mattia Prosperi, Adnan Custovic, Magnus Rattray

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Asthma is not a single disease, but an umbrella term for a number of distinct diseases, each of which are caused by a distinct underlying pathophysiological mechanism. These discrete disease entities are often labelled as ‘asthma endotypes’. The discovery of different asthma subtypes has moved from subjective approaches in which putative phenotypes are assigned by experts to data-driven ones which incorporate machine learning. This review focuses on the methodological developments of one such machine learning technique—latent class analysis—and how it has contributed to distinguishing asthma and wheezing subtypes in childhood. It also gives a clinical perspective, presenting the findings of studies from the past 5 years that used this approach. The identification of true asthma endotypes may be a crucial step towards understanding their distinct pathophysiological mechanisms, which could ultimately lead to more precise prevention strategies, identification of novel therapeutic targets and the development of effective personalized therapies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalCurrent Allergy & Asthma Reports
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Asthma Allergy Endotypes Phenotypes Machine learning Childhood asthma Latent class analysis


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