Combining Anti-IgE Monoclonal Antibodies and Oral Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Food Allergy

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2022 Feb;62(1):216-231. doi: 10.1007/s12016-021-08902-0. Epub 2021 Sep 22.


Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated food allergy is a real public health problem worldwide. The prevalence of food allergy is particularly high in children. Patients with food allergy experience high morbidity with a change in quality of life due to the risk of severe anaphylaxis. Current treatment options are poor. Allergen avoidance is widely recommended but exposes patients to accidental ingestion. Oral immunotherapy is also used in patients with food allergies to the most common allergens. Oral immunotherapy consists of a daily administration of small, gradually increasing amounts of allergens to induce desensitisation. This procedure aims at inducing immune tolerance to the ingested food allergens. However, some patients experience adverse reactions and discontinue oral immunotherapy.Given that IgE plays a crucial role in food allergy and anti-IgE are effective in allergic asthma, the use of anti-IgE therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) such as omalizumab has been assessed in food allergy patients. The use of omalizumab as a monotherapy in food allergy has not been extensively studied but looks promising. There is more published evidence regarding the effect of omalizumab and oral immunotherapy in food allergy. Given the promising results of oral immunotherapy regarding sustained tolerance in clinical trials and the potential capacity of omalizumab to reduce symptoms in case of accidental exposure, a strategy combining oral immunotherapy with omalizumab pre-treatment has been suggested as a safer option in patients with severe food allergy compared to isolated therapy. Omalizumab seems useful in ensuring safer administration of oral immunotherapy with the oral immunotherapy maintenance dose being reached more rapidly. Quality-of-life improvement is greater with oral immunotherapy + omalizumab compared to oral immunotherapy alone. Moreover, sustained unresponsiveness is achieved more frequently with omalizumab. Considering that precision medicine and personalised therapy are major goals for allergic diseases, predictive biomarkers are crucial in order to identify food allergy patients more likely to benefit from anti-IgE therapies.

Keywords: Allergy; Biomarkers; Food; Omalizumab.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Child
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / methods
  • Food Hypersensitivity*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Omalizumab / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life*


  • Allergens
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • anti-IgE antibodies
  • Omalizumab