Allergy tests do not predict food triggers in adult patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis. A comprehensive prospective study using five modalities

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Aug;44(3):223-33. doi: 10.1111/apt.13676. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


Background: The use of allergy tests to guide dietary treatment for eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) is controversial and data are limited. Aeroallergen sensitisation patterns and food triggers have been defined in Northern Hemisphere cohorts only.

Aims: To determine if allergy tests that are routinely available can predict food triggers in adult patients with EoE. To define the food triggers and aeroallergen sensitisation patterns in a novel Southern Hemisphere (Australian) cohort of patients.

Methods: Consecutive patients with EoE who elected to undergo dietary therapy were prospectively assessed, demographic details and atopic characteristics recorded, and allergy tests, comprising skin-prick and skin-patch tests, serum allergen-specific IgE, basophil activation test and serum food-specific IgG, were performed. Patients underwent a six-food elimination diet with a structured algorithm that included endoscopic and histological examination of the oesophagus a minimum of 2 weeks after each challenge. Response was defined as <15 eosinophils per HPF. Foods defined as triggers were considered as gold standard and were compared with those identified by allergy testing.

Results: No allergy test could accurately predict actual food triggers. Concordance among skin-prick and serum allergen-specific IgE was high for aeroallergens only. Among seasonal aeroallergens, rye-grass sensitisation was predominant. Food triggers were commonly wheat, milk and egg, alone or in combination.

Conclusions: None of the currently-available allergy tests predicts food triggers for EoE. Exclusion-rechallenge methodology with oesophageal histological assessment remains the only effective investigation. The same food triggers were identified in this southern hemisphere cohort as previously described.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Australia
  • Basophils / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / diagnosis*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / diet therapy
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / drug therapy
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / immunology
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Female
  • Food / adverse effects*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diet therapy
  • Food Hypersensitivity / drug therapy
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / analysis
  • Immunologic Tests / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Skin Tests
  • Triticum / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E