Tool May Help Diagnose Mite-Induced Atopic Dermatitis

eczema on handAtopy patch testing (APT) is a promising tool in the screening of atopic dermatitis (AD) caused by house dust mites, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis.


Contact with aeroallergens including house dust mites, pollen, and animal dander can lead to AD in some individuals. Although APT has previously been used to diagnose mite-induced AD, its diagnostic value remains controversial.

To further explore the diagnostic abilities of APT compared with skin prick testing (SPT), the researchers identified and evaluated 10 studies published as of April 30, 2017. Data were obtained from online databases and bibliographies. All studies included in the analysis had assessed the accuracy of APT vs SPT in the diagnosis of mite-induced atopic eczema or AD syndrome. 

Ultimately, the researchers found that APT may be useful in screening for mite-induced AD. According to the results of the meta-analysis, pooled sensitivity for APT was 0.54 and the specificity was 0.72. In addition, the positive likelihood ratio for APT was 1.97, while the negative likelihood ratio was 0.63, and the diagnostic odds ratio was 3.12. The researchers also calculated the area under the summary receiver operating characteristic curve as as 0.65.

“Our analysis indicates that APT is a useful tool in the screening of mite-induced AD, although this conclusion must be interpreted cautiously due to high heterogeneity among the included studies,” the researchers concluded.

—Christina Vogt


Liu Y, Peng J, Zhou Y, Cui Y. Comparison of atopy patch testing to skin prick testing for diagnosing mite-induced atopic dermatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis [Published online November 29, 2017]. BMC Clin Translational Allergy.