Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is a rare myeloproliferative neoplasm characterized by proliferation and hyperactivation of clonal mast cells. Clinical manifestations are heterogeneous and encompass cutaneous lesions, gastrointestinal alterations, osteoporosis, anaphylaxis and involvement of bone marrow and other organs due to neoplastic mast cells (MC) infiltration. As consequence, diagnosis may be difficult and patients (pts) are often evaluated by different specialists before the disease is recognized. To date, only few studies (Lim 2009, Escribano 2009, Cohen 2014) described relatively large series of pts with SM. We performed a multicentre retrospective study to evaluate clinical and biological features and therapeutic management in a large series of pts from 10 Italian centres experienced in management of SM and organized in multidisciplinary groups of specialists. We collected 455 pts diagnosed with SM according to WHO criteria. Additionally 26 pts with mastocytosis in the skin (MIS) evaluated with BM examination did not fulfil criteria for SM, leading to diagnosis of Cutaneous Mastocytosis (CM); however 2/26 pts with CM had both cKITD816V mutation and CD2/CD25 expression on MC in BM, additional 3 showed either cKITD816V or CD2/CD25. Moreover, we found 22 pts without MIS but with features of monoclonal mast cell activation syndrome. Of the 455 pts with WHO-SM (male 56%), 252 (55%) had MIS: median age at MIS diagnosis (dg) was 37 years (y) (range 0-79), while at SM dg it was 46.5 (range 18-82). Time from onset of MIS to dg of SM was 9 y (range 0-43). In 18/252 pts (7%) MIS occurred before age of 18 y (median 9, range 0-17) and persisted over childhood. Median age at dg of SM without MIS (203/455 pts, 45%) was older: 54 y, range 19-79 (p<0.0001). First manifestations of SM were MIS in 46.5% of pts, anaphylaxis in 47.8%, mediator related symptoms in 6.4%, osteoporosis/bone lesions in 5.2%, organomegaly in 3.4%, hematologic alterations in 0.4%. Anaphylaxis was observed in 76/252 (30.1%) pts with MIS, of which 23 had tryptase <20 mcg/L. BM multifocal infiltrates of MC were present in 61.6% of pts, while in 38.4% dg was performed only by using minor criteria. cKIT D816V mutation was detected in BM of 394/432 analysed pts (91.2%). Three D816V-negative pts had different cKIT mutations: M541L, D816H and K546K. In peripheral blood cKIT D816V was evaluated in 165 pts and found in 49.7%. CD2 and/or CD25 expressing MC were found in 99% of pts of the 426 evaluated. Mean tryptase value at dg was 75.9±263 mcg/L. SM subtypes were indolent SM (ISM) 402/455 (88.4%), of which 140 isolated bone marrow mastocytosis (BMM) (34.5% of ISM) and 34 smoldering SM (SSM) (8.4% of ISM), aggressive SM (ASM) 32/455 (7%), SM associated with hematological non mast cell disorders (SM-AHNMD) 20/455 (4.4%), mast cell leukemia (MCL) 1/455 (0.2%). In SM-AHNMD the associated hematologic disease was chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (6/20, 30%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma and refractory anemia with ring sideroblasts and thrombocytosis (3/20 each, 15%), essential thrombocythemia and not otherwise characterized myeloproliferative neoplasm (2/20 each, 10%), myelodysplastic syndrome, myelofibrosis, multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (1/20 each, 5%). Median follow up was 23 months (mo), range 2-289. At last follow up, 27/455 pts died (5.9%). 52% of pts had ASM, 18.5% SM-AHNMD, 14.7% SSM, 7.4% ISM and 3.7% each MCL and BMM. Causes of death were disease progression in 21/27 pts (77.8%), other solid neoplasms in 3/27 (11.1%), arterial thrombosis in 2/27 (9.5%), cerebral haemorrhage in 1/27 (3.7%). Disease progression consisted in evolution to AML in 6 pts with ASM, 1 pts with SSM and 1 pts with SM-AHNMD; median time to progression to AML was 30 mo (range 13-149); 2 pts developed other AHNMD: chronic myeloid leukemia and myelofibrosis. 178/455 pts (39%) were treated with anti MC mediators therapies. Of the 60/455 (13%) treated with cytostatic therapy 47% had ASM, 12% SM-AHNMD, 2% MCL, 35% ISM of which 38% were SSM. The ISM cohort was treated mainly due to severe osteoporosis with vertebral fractures not C-findings or disease evolution. First line therapy was interferon (28.3%), hydroxyurea (20%), midostaurine (18.3%), imatinib (13.3%), cladribin (8.3%), dasatinib (6.7%) and masitinib (5%). This is one of the largest series reporting pts with SM that may provide useful information for clinical management of pts with this probably underestimated “rare” disease.


Martinelli:Novartis: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; BMS: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Pfizer: Consultancy; ARIAD: Consultancy.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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