To determine whether there is an association between the presence of asthma and a clinically aggressive disease course in patients with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).
Retrospective multi-institutional cohort study (level III evidence).
Two academic medical centers in the southeastern United States.
Adult patients with RRP treated at the Georgia Health Sciences University or at the Emory University School of Medicine between January 1998 and December 2009. Excluded from the study were adult patients who had been diagnosed as having RRP when they were a child (<18 years).
Main Outcome Measures
The primary outcome measure was the presence of a clinically aggressive RRP disease course (defined as distal spread of disease, >4 procedures performed in 12 months, or progression to laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma). The secondary outcome measure was the frequency of required surgical interventions.
Identified were 90 patients with RRP (age range at first diagnosis, 19.1-86.4 years). Seventeen patients had aggressive disease, and 73 patients had nonaggressive disease. Seven patients had a history of asthma, 5 of whom were using daily inhaled corticosteroids. An association was noted between the presence of asthma and aggressive RRP, which was found in 57% (4 of 7) of patients with asthma vs 16% (13 of 83) of patients without asthma (P = .02). Patients with asthma using daily inhaled corticosteroids were especially likely to have aggressive RRP, which was found in 80% (4 of 5) of corticosteroid users vs 15% (13 of 85) of nonusers (P = .004).
Patients with asthma, particularly those using daily inhaled corticosteroids, may have a more clinically aggressive RRP course. The cause of this association is unclear, and clinical recommendations should not yet be made based on these data.