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Inhaled corticosteroids attenuate epithelial mesenchymal transition

Wenying Lu, Pawan Sharma, Mathew Suji Eapen, Sukhwinder Singh Sohal

European Respiratory Journal 2019 54: 1900778; DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00778-2019

Inhaled corticosteroids attenuate epithelial mesenchymal transition: implications for COPD and lung cancer prophylaxis


We read with great interest the recent original research article by Raymakers et al. [1] published in the European Respiratory Journal, regarding the beneficial effects of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in reducing the lung cancer risk in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In their discussion, the authors mentioned that the mechanisms by which COPD is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer are not well-established. We do not know which mechanisms ICS inhibit for an appreciable reduction in lung cancer risk. This is a hugely important area and it is encouraging that leading respiratory journals are recognising this. Understanding these interactive mechanisms, we believe, is very important for better future translational approaches to establish early and preventive therapy [2, 3]. We would like to take this further and suggest a broader discussion on the latest findings in COPD pathology involving processes such as epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), angiogenesis and airway wall cellularity, and the effects of ICS on these aspects in COPD.


  • Support statement: S.S. Sohal is supported by Clifford Craig Foundation Launceston General Hospital, Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation, Lung Foundation Australia, Cancer Council Tasmania, Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) and Boehringer Ingelheim. W. Lu is supported by Cancer Council Tasmania. P. Sharma is supported by Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation, Australia.

  • Conflict of interest: W. Lu has nothing to disclose.

  • Conflict of interest: P. Sharma has nothing to disclose.

  • Conflict of interest: M.S. Eapen has nothing to disclose.

  • Conflict of interest: S.S. Sohal has nothing to disclose.

  • Received April 18, 2019.
  • Accepted April 21, 2019.

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