Pathogenesis, clinical features, and treatment advances in mastocytosis

A. Pardanani, C. Akin, P. Valent

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is characterized by the abnormal growth and accumulation of mast cells (MC) in one or more organs. The interaction between the cytokine stem cell factor (SCF) and its cognate receptor, the c-kit receptor tyrosine kinase (KIT), plays a central role in regulating MC growth and differentiation. Whereas germline and somatically acquired activating mutations of KIT have been identified in SM, the issue as to whether individual KIT mutation(s) are necessary and sufficient to cause MC transformation remains unclear based on currently available data. Activating mutations of platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha (FIP1 L1-PDGFRA) are identified in a significant number of SM cases that have associated eosinophilia. To date, as with gastrointestinal stromal tumors, activating mutations of KIT and PDGFRA appear to be alternative and mutually exclusive genetic events in SM. The World Health Organization has specified criteria for classification of SM into six major subtypes: cutaneous mastocytosis, indolent systemic mastocytosis (ISM), systemic mastocytosis with an associated clonal hematological non-mast-cell disorder (SM-AHNMD), aggressive systemic mastocytosis (ASM), mast cell leukemia, and mast cell sarcoma. The ability to molecularly classify individual SM cases based on the presence or absence of specific mutations allows for molecularly targeted therapy in a growing number of cases. Imatinib mesylate therapy might result in complete remission of SM cases with wild-type KIT, certain KIT mutations, such as F522C, or the FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene, but not of D816V-KIT-bearing SM. For the latter, interferon-α and 2-CdA are potential first- and second-line therapeutic options. Other drugs under investigation include novel tyrosine kinase inhibitors, as well as NF-κB inhibitors, which might display greater selectivity towards D816V-KIT as compared to wild type KIT. The pathogenesis of mastocytosis, its major clinical subtypes, and recent treatment advances are discussed in this chapter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-615
Number of pages21
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Haematology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • classification
  • drug therapy
  • etiology
  • mastocytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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