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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Nov;109(5):309-313.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.07.026. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Predicting food challenge outcomes for baked milk: role of specific IgE and skin prick testing.

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Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Cow's milk allergy is the most common food allergy in childhood. Many children with IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy may tolerate baked milk products, but few data exist on predictors of outcomes of baked milk challenges.


To determine the relation of milk protein allergen specific IgE (sIgE) levels and skin prick test (SPT) wheal size with baked milk challenge outcomes.


A retrospective medical record review was conducted of 35 baked milk challenges. SPT results, sIgE levels, demographic characteristics, and food challenge results were analyzed.


Thirty-five children underwent open challenges to baked milk and 29 (83%) passed. Of those who failed, 3 (50%) passed the initial clinic challenge but developed symptoms to ongoing exposure at home, days to months later. One child who ultimately failed at home required epinephrine. Compared with those who passed, children who failed were younger (median age, 8.9 and 3.7 years, respectively; P = .02). Children with a milk SPT wheal less than 12 mm were more than 90% likely to pass a baked milk challenge, and no child with a milk SPT wheal less than 7 mm failed a baked milk challenge. We were also able to establish more than 90% predictive values for passing baked milk challenges with a casein SPT wheal of 9 mm, a milk sIgE level of 1.0 kU/L, and a casein sIgE level of 0.9 kU/L.


Most children allergic to cow's milk tolerated baked milk. Milk protein SPT wheal may be more reliable than sIgE level in predicting outcomes of baked milk challenges. It is important to be aware of the possibility of late reactions to ongoing baked milk exposure.

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