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Am J Hematol. 2015 Mar;90(3):250-62. doi: 10.1002/ajh.23931.

Systemic mastocytosis in adults: 2015 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and management.

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Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota; Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.



Systemic mastocytosis (SM) results from a clonal proliferation of abnormal mast cells (MC) in one or more extracutaneous organs.


The major criterion is presence of multifocal clusters of morphologically abnormal MC in the bone marrow. Minor diagnostic criteria include elevated serum tryptase level, abnormal MC expression of CD25 and/or CD2, and presence of KITD816V.


The 2008 World Health Organization classification of SM has been shown to be prognostically relevant. Classification of SM patients into indolent SM (ISM), aggressive SM (ASM), SM associated with a clonal non-MC lineage disease (SM-AHNMD), and mast cell leukemia (MCL) subgroups is a useful first step in establishing prognosis.


SM treatment is generally palliative. ISM patients have a normal life expectancy and receive symptom-directed therapy; infrequently, cytoreductive therapy may be indicated for refractory symptoms. ASM patients have disease-related organ dysfunction; interferon-α (+/-corticosteroids) can control dermatological, hematological, gastrointestinal, skeletal, and mediator-release symptoms, but is hampered by poor tolerability. Similarly, cladribine has broad therapeutic activity, with particular utility when rapid MC debulking is indicated; the main toxicity is myelosuppression. Imatinib has a therapeutic role in the presence of an imatinib-sensitive KIT mutation or in KITD816-unmutated patients. Treatment of SM-AHNMD is governed primarily by the non-MC neoplasm; hydroxyurea has modest utility in this setting; there is a role for allogeneic stem cell transplantation in select cases. Investigational Drugs: Recent data confirms midostaurin's significant anti-MC activity in patients with advanced SM.

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