Systematic review and meta-analyses on the accuracy of diagnostic tests for IgE-mediated food allergy

Carmen Riggioni, Cristian Ricci, Beatriz Moya, Dominic Wong, Evi van Goor, Irene Bartha, Betul Buyuktiryaki, Mattia Giovannini, Sashini Jayasinghe, Hannah Jaumdally, Andreina Marques-Mejias, Alexandre Piletta-Zanin, Anna Berbenyuk, Margarita Andreeva, Daria Levina, Ekaterina Iakovleva, Graham Roberts, Derek Chu, Rachel Peters, George du ToitIsabel Skypala, Alexandra F Santos

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) is updating the Guidelines on Food Allergy Diagnosis. We aimed to undertake a systematic review of the literature with meta-analyses to assess the accuracy of diagnostic tests for IgE-mediated food allergy. We searched three databases (Cochrane CENTRAL (Trials), MEDLINE (OVID) and Embase (OVID)) for diagnostic test accuracy studies published between 1 October 2012 and 30 June 2021 according to a previously published protocol (CRD42021259186). We independently screened abstracts, extracted data from full texts and assessed risk of bias with QUADRAS 2 tool in duplicate. Meta-analyses were undertaken for food-test combinations for which three or more studies were available. A total of 149 studies comprising 24,489 patients met the inclusion criteria and they were generally heterogeneous. 60.4% of studies were in children ≤12 years of age, 54.3% were undertaken in Europe, ≥95% were conducted in a specialized paediatric or allergy clinical setting and all included oral food challenge in at least a percentage of enrolled patients, in 21.5% double-blind placebo-controlled food challenges. Skin prick test (SPT) with fresh cow's milk and raw egg had high sensitivity (90% and 94%) for milk and cooked egg allergies. Specific IgE (sIgE) to individual components had high specificity: Ara h 2-sIgE had 92%, Cor a 14-sIgE 95%, Ana o 3-sIgE 94%, casein-sIgE 93%, ovomucoid-sIgE 92/91% for the diagnosis of peanut, hazelnut, cashew, cow's milk and raw/cooked egg allergies, respectively. The basophil activation test (BAT) was highly specific for the diagnosis of peanut (90%) and sesame (93%) allergies. In conclusion, SPT and specific IgE to extracts had high sensitivity whereas specific IgE to components and BAT had high specificity to support the diagnosis of individual food allergies.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Nov 2023

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