Purpose: Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are the cornerstone of asthma treatment in children. However, there is considerable inter-individual variation in glucocorticoid sensitivity, leading to over- as well as undertreatment. A simple and fast test to predict glucocorticoid sensitivity would enable more tailored therapy in children with asthma. Aim: To study reproducibility and utility of an overnight 0.25 mg dexamethasone suppression test (DST) with salivary cortisol levels as marker for glucocorticoid sensitivity in asthmatic children. Methods: 23 children with atopic asthma were recruited for two overnight 0.25 mg DST's, 1 month apart. Results: Baseline cortisol levels correlated well between both tests. However, cortisol levels, change in cortisol levels or fractional suppression of cortisol levels after dexamethasone did not correlate between the two tests. Bland-Altman plots showed that the difference in salivary cortisol levels between test 1 and 2 of an individual patient could go up to 12 nmol/l, which is a clinically relevant difference. ICS dose did not correlate with baseline cortisol levels, height and BMI SDS. Conclusion: The low-dose salivary DST test in its current form is not suitable for use in clinical practice in children with asthma, due to low reproducibility. Therefore, studies using the 0.25 mg salivary DST should be interpreted cautiously.

Asthma, Glucocorticoid sensitivity, Paediatric endocrinology
dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40618-015-0323-6, hdl.handle.net/1765/85497
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Willemsen, R.H, van Leeuwen, L, Voorend-Van Bergen, T.A.S, de Rijke, Y.B, Pijnenburg, M.W.H, & van den Akker, E.L.T. (2016). Reproducibility and utility of an overnight 0.25 mg dexamethasone suppression test as a marker for glucocorticoid sensitivity in children with asthma. Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, 39(1), 93–96. doi:10.1007/s40618-015-0323-6