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Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2012 May;4(3):137-42. doi: 10.4168/aair.2012.4.3.137. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Flow Cytometry-Assisted Basophil Activation Test as a Safe Diagnostic Tool for Aspirin/NSAID Hypersenstivity.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Soon Chun Hyang University Gumi Hospital, Gumi, Korea.



Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ASA/NSAIDs) are common causes of drug hypersensitivity. An oral provocation test is the only definitive diagnostic test. This study assessed the reliability of a flow cytometry-assisted basophil activation test (FAST) as a safe diagnostic method for ASA/NSAID-induced hypersensitivity, as its high sensitivity and specificity have been demonstrated for many other drugs.


Eighteen patients and 11 controls were enrolled. Using a Flow-CAST kit® (Bühlmann Laboratories AG, Schönenbuch, Switzerland), 29 analyses with aspirin, ibuprofen, and diclofenac were performed by flow cytometry to detect double-positive staining of anti-IgE and anti-CD63. The stimulation index was defined as the activated basophil percentage after drug stimulation/basally active basophil percentage. A stimulation index≥2 and an absolute activated basophil percentage≥5 were considered positive.


Patients with hypersensitivity to ASA/NSAIDs were predominantly female, and the prevalence of atopy was higher in patients than in controls. A sensitivity of 61%, specificity of 91%, positive predictive value of 92%, and negative predictive value of 59% were achieved.


FAST is a useful additional method for diagnosis of hypersensitivity reactions to ASA/NSAIDs. Further development is required to increase the sensitivity of the test.


Flow cytometry; aspirin; basophil; drug hypersensitivity; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

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