Regulatory and economic conditions drive the application of the concept of homologous groups on therapeutic and diagnostic formulations. In this context, a possible reduction of allergens in the skin prick test panel in the clinical routine should be investigated for the grass, birch and Dermatophagoides homologous group.
Grass and cultivated rye skin prick test results of 1101 patients, birch/hazel/alder skin prick test results of 1131 patients and 1068 Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and farinae skin prick tests were retrospectively evaluated with regard to sensitivity and false-negative rate detecting sensitization against cultivated rye with grass skin prick test, sensitization against hazel and/or alder with birch skin prick test and sensitization towards Dermatophagoides farinae with Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus skin prick test.
Skin prick test results in all groups highly correlated in Spearman Rank Order correlation. Sensitivity of grass skin prick test detecting sensitization against cultivated rye was highest with 98.9%, sensitivity of birch skin prick test detecting sensitization toward hazel and alder was 95.6 and 90.0%, respectively. Sensitivity of skin prick test with Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus detecting sensitization towards Dermatophagoides farinae was 93.6%. Only 26 patients with positive rye, hazel, alder or Dermatophagoides farinae skin prick test that were overlooked by grass, birch or Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus skin prick test reported allergic symptoms.
In routine clinical practice, sensitization against cultivated rye can safely be detected by skin prick test with grass allergen. In addition, the sensitivity of birch skin prick test is high in terms of sensitization towards hazel, but lower for alder. Sensitivity of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus skin prick test also is high to detect sensitization towards Dermatophagoides farinae. Further research will indicate if several skin prick test allergens will disappear and be completely replaced by a single skin prick test based on the principle of homologous groups.