How Likely/Persistent is Eosinophilic Esophagitis with Peanut Oral Immunotherapy

BL Wright et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021; 19: 1151-1159. Gastrointestinal Eosinophil Responses in a Longitudinal, Randomized Trial of Peanut Oral Immunotherapy

Background: “The incidence of EoE during OIT has been estimated at 2.7%.” (AJ Lucendo et al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2014; 113: 624-629)

Methods: Twenty adults with IgE-mediated peanut allergy were randomly assigned to groups given peanut OIT (n = 15) or placebo (n = 5) in this prospective study. Serial gastrointestinal biopsies were collected at baseline (n = 21, 0 weeks), following dose escalation (n = 10, 52 weeks), and during the maintenance phase (n = 11, 104 weeks)

Key findings:

  • At baseline: 3 of the 21 subjects (14%) had esophageal peak eosinophil counts ≥15 eos/hpf and all subjects had dilated intercellular spaces (DIS)
  • At 52 weeks: OIT induced or exacerbated esophageal eosinophilia (EoE) at 52 weeks with peak eosinophil counts ≥15 eos/hpf in 4 of 7 patients [57%] who did not have EoE at baseline. EoE did not develop in patients receiving placebo
  • At 104 weeks: In 4 of 6 participants (67%), OIT-induced EoE and gastrointestinal eosinophilia resolved by the end of the maintenance phase
  • One patient developed a clinical diagnosis of EoE.

The discussion notes overlap between EoE and IgE-mediated food allergy. The risk of EoE in patients with IgE-mediated food allergy is 118 times that of the general population (4.7% vs 0.04%) (J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2017; 5: 369-375). Also, the authors note that in this study all of the peanut allergic subjects had evidence of epithelial barrier dsyfunction.

My take: This small study shows, that for most adult patients, the development of EoE during OIT is often transitory.

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