Cow's Milk Protein Allergy as a Model of Food Allergies

Nutrients. 2021 Apr 30;13(5):1525. doi: 10.3390/nu13051525.


Cow's milk allergy (CMA) is one of the most common food allergies in infants, and its prevalence has increased over recent years. In the present paper, we focus on CMA as a model of food allergies in children. Understanding the diagnostic features of CMA is essential in order to manage patients with this disorder, guide the use of an elimination diet, and find the best moment to start an oral food challenge (OFC) and liberalize the diet. To date, no shared tolerance markers for the diagnosis of food allergy have been identified, and OFC remains the gold standard. Recently, oral immunotherapy (OIT) has emerged as a new therapeutic strategy and has changed the natural history of CMA. Before this, patients had to strictly avoid the food allergen, resulting in a decline in quality of life and subsequent nutritional, social, and psychological impairments. Thanks to the introduction of OIT, the passive approach involving rigid exclusion has changed to a proactive one. Both the heterogeneity in the diagnostic process among the studies and the variability of OIT data limit the comprehension of the real epidemiology of CMA, and, consequentially, its natural history. Therefore, well-planned randomized controlled trials are needed to standardize CMA diagnosis, prevention, and treatment strategies.

Keywords: breastfeeding; cow’s milk allergy; diet; oral food challenge; oral immunotherapy; serum-specific IgE; skin prick test.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Humans
  • Milk Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Milk Proteins / immunology*
  • Models, Biological


  • Milk Proteins