Systemic mastocytosis: classification, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment.
Mastocytosis is a heterogeneous entity that may present as either a cutaneous or systemic disease. Progression of pediatric cutaneous mastocytosis (CM) is uncommon, but in adults, this condition persists and often progresses to systemic disease. Mast cell proliferation and differentiation from stem cell precursors depend on a number of factors, including a mast cell tyrosine kinase receptor (kit) and its ligand (the stromal cell-derived cytokine stem cell factor). A gain-of-function mutation in codon 816 of c-kit is frequently present in mast cells of patients with systemic mastocytosis (SM). The diagnostic approach for a patient with suspected mast cell disease includes a thorough skin examination, a skin biopsy, a serum tryptase level, and bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. The treatment is directed toward avoidance of triggers of mast cell mediator release and management of symptoms. Aggressive cases are managed with cytoreductive therapies, such as interferon alfa-2b and cladribine. Research has been directed at more specific treatment modalities, including specific kit tyrosine kinase inhibitors.