IgE-mediated food allergies are caused by adverse immunologic responses to food proteins. Allergic reactions may present locally in different tissues such as skin, gastrointestinal and respiratory tract and may result is systemic life-threatening reactions. During the last decades, the prevalence of food allergies has significantly increased throughout the world, and considerable efforts have been made to develop curative therapies. Food allergen immunotherapy is a promising therapeutic approach for food allergies that is based on the administration of increasing doses of culprit food extracts, or purified, and sometime modified food allergens. Different routes of administration for food allergen immunotherapy including oral, sublingual, epicutaneous and subcutaneous regimens are being evaluated.
Although a wealth of data from clinical food allergen immunotherapy trials has been obtained, a lack of consistency in assessed clinical and immunological outcome measures presents a major hurdle for evaluating these new treatments. Coordinated efforts are needed to establish standardized outcome measures to be applied in food allergy immunotherapy studies, allowing for better harmonization of data and setting the standards for the future research. Several immunological parameters have been measured in food allergen immunotherapy, including allergen-specific immunoglobulin levels, basophil activation, cytokines and other soluble biomarkers, T cell and B cell responses and skin prick tests. In this review we discuss different immunological parameters and assess their applicability as potential outcome measures for food allergen immunotherapy that may be included in such a standardized set of outcome measures.