Multicentre double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge study in children sensitised to cashew nut

J.P.M. van der Valk, R. Gerth van Wijk, A.E.J. Dubois, H. de Groot, M. Reitsma, B.J. Vlieg-Boerstra, H.F.J. Savelkoul, H.J. Wichers, N.W. de Jong

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Abstract

Background
Few studies with a limited number of patients have provided indications that cashew-allergic patients may experience severe allergic reactions to minimal amounts of cashew nut. The objectives of this multicentre study were to assess the clinical relevance of cashew nut sensitisation, to study the clinical reaction patterns in double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge tests and to establish the amount of cashew nuts that can elicit an allergic reaction.

Methods and Findings
A total of 179 children were included (median age 9.0 years; range 2–17 years) with cashew nut sensitisation and a clinical history of reactions to cashew nuts or unknown exposure. Sensitised children who could tolerate cashew nuts were excluded. The study included three clinical visits and a telephone consultation. During the first visit, the medical history was evaluated, physical examinations were conducted, blood samples were drawn and skin prick tests were performed. The children underwent a double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge test with cashew nut during the second and third visits. The study showed that 137 (76.5%) of the sensitised children suspected of allergy to cashew nut had a positive double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge test, with 46% (63) manifesting subjective symptoms to the lowest dose of 1 mg cashew nut protein and 11% (15) developing objective symptoms to the lowest dose. Children most frequently had gastro-intestinal symptoms, followed by oral allergy and skin symptoms. A total of 36% (49/137) of the children experienced an anaphylactic reaction and 6% (8/137) of the children were treated with epinephrine.

Conclusion
This prospective study demonstrated a strikingly high percentage of clinical reactions to cashew nut in this third line population. Severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis requiring epinephrine, were observed. These reactions were to minimal amounts of cashew nut, demonstrated the high potency of this allergens.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0151055
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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van der Valk, J. P. M., Gerth van Wijk, R., Dubois, A. E. J., de Groot, H., Reitsma, M., Vlieg-Boerstra, B. J., ... de Jong, N. W. (2016). Multicentre double-blind placebo-controlled food challenge study in children sensitised to cashew nut. PLoS ONE, 11(3), [e0151055]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0151055