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Am J Surg Pathol. 2006 Nov;30(11):1478-82.

Systemic mastocytosis mimicking inflammatory bowel disease: A case report and discussion of gastrointestinal pathology in systemic mastocytosis.

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1
Department of Pathology, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Abstract

Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are present in up to 80% of patients with systemic mastocytosis (SM). GI symptoms include mainly abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. It is believed that most of the GI symptoms are due to the secondary effect of mast cell mediators on the GI tract. Direct involvement of the GI tract by neoplastic mast cell infiltration has not been well documented. We report a case of SM that initially mimicked inflammatory bowel disease based on clinical, radiographic, endoscopic, and histopathologic findings. On routine histologic sections of small bowel and colonic mucosal biopsies, there was expansion of the lamina propria by mononuclear inflammatory cells, foci of erosions with associated acute inflammation, and evidence of chronic mucosal injury with architectural distortion and gland foreshortening. Only on repeat biopsies and with ancillary tests for mast cells was a diagnosis of SM made, with extensive involvement of the GI tract. This is the first reported case of SM presenting as and mimicking inflammatory bowel disease. It is critical that clinicians and pathologists are aware that neoplastic mast cells in patients with SM can infiltrate the mucosa throughout the GI tract and that this infiltration can lead to symptoms and findings that can mimic inflammatory bowel disease.

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