Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

, 14:430

Skin Testing Versus Serum-Specific IgE Testing: Which Is Better for Diagnosing Aeroallergen Sensitization and Predicting Clinical Allergy?

  • Gabriele de VosAffiliated withAlbert Einstein College of MedicineDivision of Allergy and Immunology, Jacobi Medical Center Email author 

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An accurate diagnosis of aeroallergen sensitization is pivotal to clinical practice and research. Given the recent technological advances in analyzing serum allergen-specific IgE, the question of which testing method, skin or serum testing, is superior in diagnosing allergic sensitization must be readdressed, as well as their value in predicting clinical disease. This review article provides a detailed summary of recent studies addressing these questions. Conclusively, most studies show substantial discordance between serum-specific IgE and skin testing results, suggesting that the two testing methods compliment each other and cannot be used interchangeably. On average, using only one testing method may misdiagnose every fourth allergically sensitized patient as non-sensitized. In addition, depending on the allergen tested, skin prick testing and serum-specific IgE testing appear to be the methods of choice in predicting outcomes of experimental allergen challenge, while intradermal testing is less contributory.


Serum allergy testing Skin allergy testing Serum-specific IgE Total serum IgE Skin prick testing Intradermal testing Aeroallergens Comparison of methods Nasal challenge Bronchial provocation test Allergic sensitization Clinical allergy