Pediatr Allergy Respir Dis.  2003 Jun;13(2):72-80.

A Comparative Study of the Diagnostic Characteristics of MAST Assay and UniCAP System for Food Allergy

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, The Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The skin prick test is commonly used to diagnose atopic diseases. But it is hard to use skin prick test under the conditions such as atopic dermatitis, and if patient is taking some medication, and so on. Therefore, in vitro allergic specific IgE assays is useful for those cases. The efficiency and comparison of in vitro IgE specific tests for aeroallergens have been reported. However, there is a need for comparison of their diagnostic efficiency for food allergy. METHODS: To evaluate their clinical efficiency, the results of UniCAP system and multiple antigen simultaneous test (MAST) were compared with the results of skin prick test for house dust mite and food allergens. Fifty two subjects were selected, who answered the questionnaire as "have ever been diagnosed food allergy by medical doctors". And the subjects completed skin prick test (SPT), and serum samples were collected for in vitro IgE specific test such as UniCAP and MAST. RESULTS: When SPT was used as a reference standard, UniCAP depicted higher sensitivity than MAST for food allergens as egg white, soybean, milk, and house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus: Dp), but MAST was higher specificity than UniCAP. The values of UniCAP and MAST were significantly correlated with the reactivity grade of skin prick test, respectively. CONCLUSION: These results may suggest that UniCAP and MAST have given similar results, and are both useful for the detection of food allergens. But no technique is as sensitive as skin prick tests for allergen-specific diagnosis of food allergen disease.


Food allergy; Specific IgE
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