Patch testing is the criterion standard for diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD).
The aim of the study was to report the trends of patch testing results with the standard series at Massachusetts General Hospital from January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2016, compared with previous data from 1998 to 2006 and from 1990 to 2006 and those reported by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group.
Data were collected and analyzed from retrospective chart reviews, focusing on 50 allergens in our standard series.
A total of 2373 patients were patch tested. One or more positive reactions were observed in 1428 patients (60.2%), and 1153 patients (48.6%) had a final primary diagnosis of ACD. Top 5 allergens were nickel (19.8%), fragrance mix I (14.6%), Myroxylon pereirae (balsam of Peru) (13.5%), neomycin (9.4%), and bacitracin (7.7%). Sensitization frequencies statistically increased over time for 3 allergens: nickel, neomycin, and propylene glycol, and decreased for 5 allergens: formaldehyde, paraben mix, thiuram mix, n-isopropyl-N-phenyl-4-phenylenediamine, and epoxy resin (P ≤ 0.001).
Surveillance of ACD trends is essential to detect emerging sensitizers. Patch testing is an important diagnostic tool for detection of ACD to commonly encountered and potential allergens.