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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2002 Mar 28;114(5-6):222-8.

[Aleukemic mast cell leukemia (formerly: "malignant mastocytosis"): an extremely rare form of leukemia. A case report and simultaneously a contribution to revised classification of mastocytosis].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Pathologie, Medizinische Universität zu Lübeck (MUL), Lübeck. horny@patho.mu-luebeck.de


The term mastocytosis denotes a heterogeneous group of rare hematological disorders characterized by abnormal accumulation of mast cells. While cutaneous mastocytosis is relatively frequent mast cell leukemia belongs to the rarest forms of human leukemia. In the following we present the case of an aleukemic mast cell leukemia and shall discuss the revised classification of mastocytosis based on the "Year 2000 Working Conference on Mastocytosis" held in Vienna, Austria. A 48 year-old caucasian man presented with a four-week history of diarrhea, obstipation, vomiting, rash, and mild fever. Clinical inspection revealed a disseminated itching rash and a mild hepatomegaly. Red and white blood cell counts were within the normal range. Levels of the alkaline phosphatase and serum histamine were significantly increased. There was no splenomegaly or lymphadenopathy. Cytologic and histologic investigation of the bone marrow revealed a marked increase in atypical mast cells. Since only a few circulating mast cells could be detected in a cytospin preparation of the blood, the diagnosis of an aleukemic mast cell leukemia was established. About four weeks after the diagnosis had been established, the patient died with signs of a hemorrhagic shock due to a massive gastrointestinal bleeding. Autopsy revealed widespread mast cell infiltration of bone marrow, spleen, liver and lungs, but also a small, deeply penetrating, non-specific duodenal ulcer. In conclusion, despite of presentation with signs of a primary gastrointestinal disorder, the patient was found to suffer from an exceedingly rare aleukemic mast cell leukemia ("malignant mastocytosis") and died after a total duration of the disease of only about three months.

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