Accuracy of IgE antibody laboratory results

Robert A. Wood, Nathan Segall, Staffan Ahlstedt, P. Brock Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Studies have demonstrated that the magnitude of sensitization as evidenced by specific IgE (sIgE) levels provides significant information as to whether a sensitized individual is likely to be truly reactive. However, it is not clear that quantitative sIgE results provided by different laboratories using different technologies are comparable. Objective: To investigate whether similar results were obtained from Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act - certified laboratories that used 3 common systems for sIgE antibody determination with serum samples and mouse-human IgE chimeric antibodies with known specificity and quantity. Methods: Sixty samples for peanut and 20 for soy were submitted for sIgE determination on 3 different systems: ImmunoCAP, Immulite, and Turbo radioallergosorbent test (RAST). Mouse-human chimeric IgE antibodies specific for the major birch allergen Bet v 1 and for the dust mite allergen Der p 2 were also included. Results: A qualitative evaluation using a cutoff of 0.35 kUA/L showed some differences in the ability to detect sIgE sensitization, with the Turbo RAST being most variable. However, considerable differences were found with quantitative evaluation, with Immulite overestimating and Turbo RAST underestimating sIgE compared with ImmunoCAP. Similar discrepancies were seen with the mouse-human chimeric IgE antibody samples. Conclusion: These findings have potentially serious clinical implications, since each of these systems is widely used. It is therefore important that all laboratories clarify which system they are using. Just because 2 systems present their results in the same units does not mean that the results are necessarily correct or interchangeable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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