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

Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Allergens


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 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Gabriele de Vos declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with animal subjects performed by the author. With regard to the author’s research cited in this paper, all procedures were followed in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 and 2008.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Albert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Division of Allergy and ImmunologyJacobi Medical CenterBronxUSA

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