Basophil Activation Test Reduces Oral Food Challenges to Nuts and Sesame

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2021 May;9(5):2016-2027.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2020.12.039. Epub 2020 Dec 29.


Background: Nut allergic patients are often IgE sensitized to other nuts/seeds and need multiple oral food challenges (OFCs) before the safe nuts can be introduced in the diet. However, OFCs are time-consuming and risky procedures.

Objective: To assess the utility of the basophil activation test (BAT) to predict the allergic status and reduce the need for an OFC in children with 1 or more nut or seed allergies.

Methods: Participants in the Pronuts study recruited at the Geneva and the London centers were tested on the BAT to hazelnut, cashew nut, sesame, almond, and peanut, Ara h 1, Ara h 2, Ara h 6, using FlowCAST, a commercially available BAT kit, and flow cytometry.

Results: The BAT to hazelnut, cashew nut, sesame, almond, and peanut discriminated between allergic and nonallergic children, to the respective nut or seed. The optimal allergen concentration and their optimal, positive, and negative cutoffs were identified for the BAT and the other tests, for each nut and seed. Using the BAT as a second step in the diagnostic process, after equivocal skin prick test and IgE to extracts and components, reduced the number of total OFCs by 5% to 15% and positive OFCs by 33% to 75% (except for hazelnut) with 0% false-negatives and a diagnostic accuracy of 96% to 100%.

Conclusion: The BAT proved to be a useful diagnostic tool, used in a stepwise approach, to predict the allergic status and reduce the number of OFCs in the Pronuts study participants with at least 1 nut allergy willing to consume selected nuts.

Keywords: Basophil activation test; Diagnosis; Food allergy; Peanut; Sesame seed; Severity; Skin prick test; Specific IgE; Threshold dose; Tree nuts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Basophils
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Nut Hypersensitivity* / diagnosis
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity* / diagnosis
  • Peanut Hypersensitivity* / prevention & control
  • Sesamum*


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E