Key Points

  • Mastocytosis is strongly associated with hereditary α tryptasemia (HαT).

  • Patients with mastocytosis and HαT have a high risk for hymenoptera venom allergy and severe anaphylaxis.

Abstract

Mastocytosis is a hematopoietic neoplasm characterized by expansion of KIT D816V-mutated clonal mast cells in various organs and severe or even life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Recently, hereditary α-tryptasemia (HαT) has been described as a common genetic trait with increased copy numbers of the α-tryptase encoding gene, TPSAB1, and associated with an increased basal serum tryptase level and a risk of mast cell activation. The purpose of our study was to elucidate the clinical relevance of HαT in patients with mastocytosis. TPSAB1 germline copy number variants were assessed by digital polymerase chain reaction in 180 mastocytosis patients, 180 sex-matched control subjects, 720 patients with other myeloid neoplasms, and 61 additional mastocytosis patients of an independent validation cohort. α-Tryptase encoding TPSAB1 copy number gains, compatible with HαT, were identified in 17.2% of mastocytosis patients and 4.4% of the control population (P < .001). Patients with HαT exhibited higher tryptase levels than patients without HαT (median tryptase in HαT+ cases: 49.6 ng/mL vs HαT cases: 34.5 ng/mL, P = .004) independent of the mast cell burden. Hymenoptera venom hypersensitivity reactions and severe cardiovascular mediator-related symptoms/anaphylaxis were by far more frequently observed in mastocytosis patients with HαT than in those without HαT. Results were confirmed in an independent validation cohort. The high prevalence of HαT in mastocytosis hints at a potential pathogenic role of germline α-tryptase encoding TPSAB1 copy number gains in disease evolution. Together, our data suggest that HαT is a novel emerging robust biomarker in mastocytosis that is useful for determining the individual patient´s risk of developing severe anaphylaxis.

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