• Aspergillus fumigatus;
  • recombinant antigen;
  • allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis;
  • cystic fibrosis;
  • corticosteroids

We determined follow-up levels of specific serum IgE to the recombinant Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) allergens rAsp f 1, 3, 4 and 6 in patients suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF) with and without allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). Over a 32-month period follow-up data of 74 patients were collected. According to serology, 11 CF patients were not sensitized (CF controls), 40 were sensitized to A. fumigatus (Asp. f-sens.) and 23 patients fulfilled the serologic criteria for ABPA. Of these 23 ABPA patients 11 expressed the full clinical ABPA picture (classicABPA) and 12 failed to show sufficient relevant clinical signs (seroABPA), despite positive serology. The 23 ABPA patients had 16–18 times higher serum levels of specific IgE to rAsp f 4 and/or rAsp f 6 than those of Asp. f-sens. patients (rAsp f 4: 31.3 ± 45 EU/ml vs. 1.9 ± 2.2 EU/ml and rAsp f 6: 39.0 ± 44.3 EU/ml vs 2.1 ± 1.7 EU/ml). The combination of increased total serum IgE (>1000 IU/l) and increased specific IgE to rAsp f 4 and/or rAsp f 6 allowed to diagnose classicABPA with 100% specificity and 64% sensitivity and with a high predicted positive (100%) and a high predicted negative (94%) value. During a combined treatment (seven patients) with oral corticosteroid and itraconazole, itraconazole alone (two patients) or neither oral corticosteroid nor itraconazole therapy (two patients) total serum IgE and specific IgE to rAsp f 4 and/or rAsp f 6 did decrease but did not normalize. Over the observation period, lung function remained unchanged, independent of whether oral steroids and/or concomitant itraconazole were either given or not given. In the follow-up of CF patients with ABPA under therapy the determination of total or specific IgE serum levels were of limited value to guide therapy.