Background and aim: Standardized techniques help us to better diagnosis and follow up of allergic diseases. In this study, we determined the sensitivity, accuracy, and specificity of an Immunoblotting test compared to ImmunoCAP as the reference in vitro test for detection of specific IgE in allergic patients. 
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, specific IgE level was determined in patients with allergic symptoms who referred to the Immunology, Asthma and Allergy Research Institute, Tehran, Iran from 2010-2016, by two techniques. Eleven different allergens (six aeroallergens and five food allergens) were determined, and 303 specific IgE tests were performed for the patients by each method.  The Immunoblotting test is a multiplex assay on a nitrocellulose membrane coated with 20 selected allergens. ImmunoCAP is considered as the reference method for determination of in vitro specific IgE. Its principle is an automated sandwich immunoassay, and allergens were bound to the solid phase, covalently. Finally, the fluorescence of elute was determined.  Specific IgE more than 0.35 KU/L was considered as a positive test. Sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, kappa coefficient, positive and negative likelihood ratio (+/- LR), and correlation coefficient (calculated with Spearman test) between two tests were determined using statistical analysis (SPSS software, version 18).
Results:  One hundred and thirty five patients entered this study. The median age of the patients was 3.75 years with the males constituting 54.8% of the population. The most common cheif complaints were respiratory (51.6%), skin (41.8%) and gastrointestinal (27.9%) symptoms, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, +LR and -LR were 83%, 97%, 92%, 27.66 and 0.17, respectively. The kappa coefficient of the immunoblotting test was 0.81 compared to the reference technique. The correlation coefficient for positive tests between the two methods was 0.71 (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Regarding the presence of 20 allergens in a RIDA allergy panel and according to our findings, this immunoblotting test with high sensitivity could be used as a fast and cost-efficient screening test. However, ImmunoCAP is recommended when the accurate level of specific IgE is required.  ImmunoCAP findings are particularly helpful for immunotherapy and the elimination diet.


Keywords: Sensitivity, Specificity, Immunoblotting, Specific IgE


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