Prevalence of sensitization to molecular food allergens in Europe: A systematic review

Daniil Lisik, Athina Ioannidou, Giulia Spolidoro, Mohamed Ali, Sungkutu Nyassi, Yohanes Amera, Graciela Rovner, Ekaterina Khaleva, Carina Venter, Ronald van Ree, Margitta Worm, Berber Vlieg-Boerstra, Aziz Sheikh, Antonella Muraro, Graham Roberts, Bright I Nwaru

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Recent reports indicate that the prevalence of food allergy is increasing, but accurate estimates remain a challenge due to cross-reactivity and limited use of precise diagnostic methods. Molecular allergy diagnostics, in which sensitization to individual molecular allergens is measured, is emerging as a promising tool for evaluation of sensitization profiles. In this systematic review, we summarized estimates of prevalence of sensitization to molecular food allergens in the general population in Europe.

Methods: Following a protocol prospectively registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO; reference CRD42021266657), we searched seven databases with no restrictions on publication date or language. Two reviewers independently screened the literature, extracted data, and appraised the risk of bias in the included studies. The findings were synthesized narratively.

Results: From 4776 de-duplicated records, five studies, with low to moderate overall risk of bias, were included. Forty-six molecular allergens from 18 foods were investigated. Overall, the prevalence of sensitization was low, particularly for major allergens, and non-existent for 10 molecular allergens (0% [95% CI 0-0.8]). The highest prevalence was seen for PR-10 proteins, such as Cor a 1.04 (13.6% [95% CI 10.9-16.9]).

Conclusions: Available data, primarily from North-western Europe, indicate that sensitization to molecular food allergens is overall low. The highest estimates were found for cross-reactive PR-10 proteins. There were not enough studies to discern regional differences or perform meta-analysis, highlighting the need for more population-representative studies in order to elucidate patterns of sensitization to molecular food allergens in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12175
JournalClinical and translational allergy
Issue number7
Early online date6 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • epidemiology
  • food allergy
  • molecular allergen
  • sensitization
  • systematic review


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