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Contact Dermatitis. 2016 Feb;74(2):67-75. doi: 10.1111/cod.12458. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

Lettuce contact allergy.

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Department of Dermatology and Allergy Centre, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, DK-5000, Odense C, Denmark.


Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) and its varieties are important vegetable crops worldwide. They are also well-known, rarely reported, causes of contact allergy. As lettuce allergens and extracts are not commercially available, the allergy may be underdiagnosed. The aims of this article are to present new data on lettuce contact allergy and review the literature. Lettuce is weakly allergenic, and occupational cases are mainly reported. Using aimed patch testing in Compositae-allergic patients, two recent Danish studies showed prevalence rates of positive lettuce reactions of 11% and 22%. The majority of cases are non-occupational, and may partly be caused by cross-reactivity. The sesquiterpene lactone mix seems to be a poor screening agent for lettuce contact allergy, as the prevalence of positive reactions is significantly higher in non-occupationally sensitized patients. Because of the easy degradability of lettuce allergens, it is recommended to patch test with freshly cut lettuce stem and supplement this with Compositae mix. As contact urticaria and protein contact dermatitis may present as dermatitis, it is important to perform prick-to-prick tests, and possibly scratch patch tests as well. Any person who is occupationally exposed to lettuce for longer periods, especially atopics, amateur gardeners, and persons keeping lettuce-eating pets, is potentially at risk of developing lettuce contact allergy.


Asteraceae; Compositae; Lactuca sativa; allergic contact dermatitis; atopics; lettuce; occupational; patch testing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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