Background: Omalizumab, a monoclonal anti-IgE antibody, is currently indicated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe allergic asthma. To measure active IgE levels in sera from patients treated with omalizumab, the IgE subfraction in complex with omalizumab should be eliminated from total IgE, and free IgE levels can then be determined. With the aim of therapeutic monitoring for anti-IgE therapy, we developed a new ELISA for free IgE.
Methods: We used recombinant human soluble FcεRIα as a capture antigen and a biotinylated polyclonal anti-IgE antibody for detection. Using the newly developed ELISA, we measured the serum free IgE levels weekly in four asthmatic patients after their first omalizumab injection. We also measured the serum free IgE levels in 54 patients treated with omalizumab for over 4 weeks.
Results: This assay was technically robust, the mean recovery rate in serum was 93.16% ± 5.34%. For all patients, omalizumab treatment significantly reduced serum free IgE levels prior to the second omalizumab injection. To maintain the benefit of omalizumab, serum free IgE concentrations should be <50 ng/ml. However, in 14 of 54 patients treated with omalizumab for over 4 weeks, serum free IgE concentrations measured by our ELISA were >50 ng/ml.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that the measurement of free IgE levels using our newly developed ELISA would be useful for monitoring serum free IgE levels during omalizumab therapy.