Performance of a component-based allergen-microarray in the diagnosis of cow's milk and hen's egg allergy


Giovanni Cavagni, Department of Paediatric Medicine – Allergy Unit, I.R.C.C.S. Children's Hospital ‘Bambino Gesù’, Piazza S. Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy.


Background The food challenge test (FCT) is the gold standard for the diagnosis of food allergy. This procedure is time consuming, costly and can induce potentially severe symptoms. An ideal in vitro test should allow to avoid the FCT.

Objective To assess the clinical performance of microarray for specific IgE (sIgE) detection in children with challenge-proven/excluded cow's milk (CM) or hen's egg (HE) allergy.

Methods One-hundred and four children with suspected IgE-mediated hypersensitivity to CM or HE were studied. In all patients, skin prick test, ImmunoCAP, microarray and FCT were performed.

Results The microarray components Bos d 8 for CM (27/58 patients) and Gal d 1 (20/46 patients) and Gal d 2 (24/46) for HE were the most frequently recognized allergens. Using the FCT results as the reference parameter, sIgE to Bos d 8 and Gal d 1 had the highest area under the curves. These were not significantly different from those obtained using the ImmunoCAP. Use of 95% clinical decision points (CDP) for sIgE to Bos d 8 and Gal d 1 resulted in higher negative predictive values (78% and 79%, respectively) than those obtained with the ImmunoCAP (57% and 59%).

Conclusions Our results show that in children with suspected CM or HE allergy, the microarray has a good ability to predict the FCT results. In a clinical application perspective, the microarray could be used as a second-level assay, if the ImmunoCAP sIgE is <95% CDP. This approach would lead to a decrease in the number of the FCT to be performed, as well as of positive FCTs with a subsequent decrease in severe reaction risk.

Cite this as: L. E. D'Urbano, K. Pellegrino, M. C. Artesani, S. Donnanno, R. Luciano, C. Riccardi, A. E. Tozzi, L. Ravà, F. De Benedetti and G. Cavagni, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 1561–1570.