The predictive value of specific immunoglobulin E levels for the first diagnosis of cow's milk allergy. A critical analysis of pediatric literature

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2007 Nov;18(7):575-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2007.00595.x. Epub 2007 Jul 25.


Investigators have tried to identify a level of seric specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) that had a sufficient predictive value to diagnose a food allergy without having will resort to the food challenge. To search in literature, all the studies that have estimated the possibility to identify a level of seric specific cow milk IgE with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 95% for the first diagnosis of cow's milk allergy (CMA) in pediatric age. We have identified six studies, nearly all studies suffer from relevant methodological bias. Proposed cut-off are all different. The studied pediatric populations were highly selected. Also neglecting the methodological bias of the studies and the great difference of value between the proposed cut-off, it always remains to consider that the pre-test probability of having a CMA between the children enrolled in the six studies included in this review is particularly high. The likelihood ratio helps to transfer the results of a study on a diagnostic test just to our population, and it is more realistic rather than to entrust itself to the PPV or the negative predictive value, that are much influenced from the prevalence of the disease in the studied population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / standards
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism*
  • Infant
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Immunoglobulin E