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Recommendations for the Use of In Vitro Methods to Detect Specific Immunoglobulin E: Are They Comparable?


MJ Goikoetxea,1 ML Sanz,1 BE García,2 C Mayorga,3 N Longo,4 PM Gamboa,5 and the members of the Immunology Committee of SEAIC (D Barber, T Caballero Molina, A de la Calle Toral, L Escribano Mora, JM García Martinez, M Labrador, M López Hoyos, J Martínez Quesada, J Monteseirín Mateo)

1Department of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
2Allergy Service, Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
3Allergy Unit, Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga, Málaga, Spain
4Servicio de Alergia, Hospital Santiago Apostol, Vitoria, Spain
5Servicio de Alergia, Hospital de Basurto, Bilbao, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2013; Vol. 23(7): 448-454



Total and specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E can be detected in vitro using several commercially available methods. The largest share of the global market for these methods is held by the ImmunoCAP technique (Thermo Fisher, previously Phadia), Immulite (Siemens), and Hytec-288 (Hycor).
Most comparative studies examine Immulite and ImmunoCAP, which differ methodologically but use similar units of measurement relative to the same standard of total IgE (WHO IgE Standard 75/502). Despite their similarity, these kits differ in their quantification of specific IgE, which varies depending on the allergen studied. Thus, specific IgE results obtained with ImmunoCAP and Immulite are not interchangeable. It is important to bear this in mind, especially when determining cutoff points as predictors of a response to oral challenge with specific food allergens. The method used in practice must be the same as the one in the publication guiding clinical decision making.
We analyze differences between ImmunoCAP and ISAC microarray, 2 methods from the same manufacturer used to detect IgE to specific proteins (purified or recombinant). The results show that the IgE values obtained with ImmunoCAP are not equivalent to the corresponding values obtained with the ISAC microarray system.

Key words: Allergy diagnosis. IgE. Techniques. Enzyme immunoassay. Microarray