Cow’s milk allergy skin tests: fresh milk, commercial extracts, or both?

Idit Lachover-Roth, Nadav Giorno, Tzipi Hornik-Lurie, Anat Cohen-Engler, Yossi Rosman, Keren Meir-Shafrir, Ronit Confino-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The diagnosis of food allergy is based on a history of immediate allergic reaction following food ingestion, and skin prick test (SPT) demonstrating sensitization with commercial extracts (CE) or fresh food (FF). For most food allergens, the SPT with FF is considered more accurate and predictive. Regarding cow’s milk, the results are inconclusive. This retrospective study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of SPT with fresh milk compared to CE (cow’s milk and casein) for evaluation of cow’s milk allergy (CMA). Methods: This study summarized the medical records of children, diagnosed with CMA. The data include demographics, skin tests and oral food challenge results, as well as atopic comorbidities. Results: Records of 698 patients with the diagnosis of CMA were reviewed, 388 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Overall, 134 patients (34.54%) had an additional atopic disease. The SPT wheal size with fresh milk was significantly larger than with CE (cow's milk and casein) at first evaluation or before oral food challenge (OFC). Combination of SPT results (CE and FF) gave the maximal odds ratio for reaction during OFC and SPT with fresh milk alone gave the minimal OR (34.18 and 4.74, respectively). Conclusions: SPT with CE for CMA evaluation is more reliable than SPT performed with fresh milk. In patients suspected of having IgE-mediated CMA, before deciding on performing OFC, it is advised to perform SPT with at least two different extracts, and always include casein. Fresh milk can serve as a backup if commercial extracts are not available. In cases that the SPT with fresh milk is 3 mm or less, there is 93.3% chance that the OFC will pass without reaction. Trial registration This study protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of Meir Medical Center, IRB Number 0083-18 MMC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalAllergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 18 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

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  • Commercial extracts
  • Cow’s milk allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Fresh food
  • Skin prick test (SPT)


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