The diagnosis of allergic reactions in clinical practice is based on both clinical history and the determination of specific immunoglobulin E (IgE), either in the serum or on skin mast cells. However, for various reasons, identification of the causative factors is not possible in all the cases. Moreover, not all allergies are IgE-dependent. In an attempt to find sensitive, specific and cost-effective methods to investigate hypersensitivity reactions, in vitro tests were developed at a very early stage. Allergen-induced mediator release assays analyze the mediator released from effector cells, mainly peripheral blood cells, when stimulated in vitro with serial dilutions of the putative allergens. Described initially as research tools, they could well become diagnostic tests. However, relatively few high quality reports have been published so far. In this review, we will detail allergen-dependent histamine, tryptase, arachidonic acid metabolite, e.g. cysteinyl leukotrienes and 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic mediator release tests.