Forged

In the fall of 2013, my health took a serious turn from shitty but manageable to completely out of control. For the next several months, I spent most of the time in bed. I was having classic POTS symptoms but I didn’t know anything about POTS yet. I was having excruciating bone pain and was puking every day. It was the first that my worst symptom was pain and not exhaustion.

Within the next six months, I became so sick that I was largely confined to my apartment. I worked but mostly from home. I put on a massive amount of weight from high doses. I had a PICC line placed and started doing infusion and IV meds at home. I went low histamine and lost a ton of foods that I was never able to add back in. I had hives all over my back, neck and chest. I had anaphylaxis a number of times.

I have always kept journals. I periodically go back and read old journals. In the fall of 2013, I was miserably sick. But my entries didn’t focus on the symptoms or the pain. They focused on the fear and despair. My fear had become its own world, superimposed upon this one. I would lay awake at night, alone in the dark, trying to find the edges of that place.

Part of the fear was confusion. I was used to arguing with insurance companies but now I was arguing over things I didn’t fully understand. Arranging nursing and line care, identifying pharmacies for compounded and IV meds, scheduling procedures with doctors who didn’t know me and thought my special requirements were ridiculous and unnecessary. I was constantly having to insist that, I was in fact, really sick.

Perpetually having to relive your worst health experiences for the benefit of an unforgiving audience is scarring. The frustration, uncertainty, and fear made for a dark emotional landscape.

In the last 18 months, I have largely improved. I had much more stamina, POTS symptoms were much less severe, anaphylaxis was much less frequent, food reactions were not as bad. I could exercise again and lost the weight I gained on steroids.

I have been having worsened GI symptoms/abdominal pain as a result of the herniation. The last few months have been phenomenally stressful and that has made things much, much worse. At the end of the summer, I started having severe GI pain anytime I ate anything. I thought I was reacting because of the heat. Then it wasn’t as hot anymore and I was having severe GI pain and night sweats and blistering hives and strange bruising. I thought it was from the change of seasons.

I am now having severe bone pain in my pelvis and both legs to the extent that it is painful to walk. I am having low blood pressure and getting tachy when I stand, even though I use IV fluids to stabilize POTS. I am still having severe GI pain anytime I eat. I continue to lose weight despite the mathematic certainty against this, given my caloric and fat intake and recent level of activity. I wake up in a fog with a buzzing in my head that it seems I have had before.

I had the same symptoms in the fall of 2013, the sentinel announcing the onset of a health nightmare. It’s happening again.

I am frustrated and upset about this development for obvious reasons. I’m scared but not scared like I was in the fall of 2013. I have a port, ready access to IV meds and fluids, weekly nursing care, line care, excellent insurance, a pain management plan, and a team of doctors that treated me in 2013 and has learned a lot since then. I am much, more experienced in managing this disease and fluent in the academic aspects of mast cells and mast cell disease. I understand how to deal with this and have the appropriate infrastructure to do so.

I saw a friend this weekend and filled her in on my ongoing spiral. “You seem to be handling it,” she remarked in her Masters in Counseling verbiage. “You don’t seem scared.” She’s right. I am exasperated and so unbelievably tired of living in this body. But I’m not scared like I was before.

I was strong before but not like I am now. So much of this has become routine. I’m going to be sick whether I’m mad about it or not. More than that, so many of the things that scare other people bring me comfort. My port is like a security blanket. All these meds have bought me a measure of independence. Even using an epipen is rote. I’m not happy about needing these things but I accept them.

Adversity forges you, hammering you over and over in a relentless rain of blows. You either shatter or you strong enough to withstand it. The metal splinters or a blade forms. You disappear or you become a weapon. You succumb or you learn to fight.

I am not responding to emails, messages or comments, or answering questions. Some of the blog posts will be made private. The problem is not that I’m not asking for help or need help from other people; right now, that would actually make a lot more work for me. I have limited energy and have to work within certain constraints because of my job.

Part of this decision is because my body needs a lot of rest and quiet. Part of this is because I anticipate my health issues worsening before they improve. Part of this is because of the stress of being accessible online and the anxiety I have after this summer. I am just so unbelievably weary. I am tired of having to defend myself. I am required to report accusations of misconduct, baseless or not, to my employer. I am exhausted in the very core of my being.

Hope everyone is coping with Shocktober and has a happy Halloween. Take care.

Try not to burn the place down: For Ginger

On Sunday night, a friend got in touch to let me know some truly awful news: that Ginger Newton, fellow mast cell patient, connoisseur of lemon cakes, purveyor of dark humor, and friend, died at home the day before. She was 49 years old.

I knew Ginger for years. One of the more fascinating aspects of rare disease communities is that you often develop close relationships with people that you would otherwise be unlikely to know. These bonds are not generally related to personality as much as they are derived from a common suffering. But that wasn’t the case with Ginger. If I met Ginger in real life, we would have been friends.

She was a thoroughly entertaining person. She was loud and sarcastic. Ginger had a razor sharp wit that managed to bite without devouring you. She was unapologetic and shameless. In a strange way, the fact that these qualities endured in her gave me hope for my own future as a loud and sarcastic woman.

Ginger was also very knowledgable about mast cell diseases. When I met her, I was piss my pants terrified of what was happening to me physically. I was spending a lot of time stumbling through threads in mast cell groups and googling things. Since that is basically a two step recipe for scaring the shit out of yourself, I was pretty wound up by the time I talked to Ginger about my health. She answered my questions evenly and was neither impressed with nor scared of my disease. I was overwhelmed and scared and needed help. And she helped me, something I will never forget.

I have spent all week trying to figure out how to write about her. I have a lot to say. I feel a lot of things about Ginger’s death and they are so contradictory that it’s hard to get the thoughts out of my head cogently. I am sad. I will miss her. We didn’t always get along and we disagreed a lot. But I will miss her and mourn her.

I generally write posts and essays around a particular theme, usually how I feel about something. But I think the theme here is that there isn’t one. Sometimes things just happen and they don’t serve any purpose. I think this is one of those times.

Goodbye, Ginger. I am grateful to have known you even if things were difficult at the end. Thank you for the years of reassurance, friendship and help that you gave me. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to have strong emotions. When I see a lemon tree or use the word ‘fuckety’ or hire a cleaning lady that can’t clean without ruining furniture, I will remember you.

I don’t know where we go when we leave these bodies, but I think we go somewhere. I’ll see you when I get there. Try not to burn the place down.

Evolution

The first scientific theory that really intrigued me was the endosymbiotic theory. I don’t know if I think it’s true or not but I think it’s a fascinating idea. It goes like this: many years ago, all life is single celled organisms, like bacteria. At some point in history, a bacterium brought another kind of bacterium into its cell. You now have one bacterium living inside another bacterium.

So what’s the benefit? One of them provides safety for the other by keeping it away from the outside environment. And the other provides energy. Over time, the bacterium brought inside becomes a mitochondrion, the place where many cells make energy. Mitochondria are noteworthy in that they have their own genes that are completely separate from the rest of an organism’s genes. Cells that were able to make energy like this evolved into complex organisms, like humans.

Evolution is an amazing thing but it comes at a cost. Both bacteria eventually lost their ability to survive on their own. One cell needed the extra energy and the other needed protection from the environment. Both of these cells lost their individual traits in the progression toward something larger. They became trapped.

I have been actively involved in the mast cell community for several years. I have been very involved for about three years. I will never forget the feeling I got when I realized that these people understood what it was like to live in a body ravaged by this disease. I will never forget the first people who made me feel welcome and valued in this community.

In the last few years, I have laid bare my secret pains and fears to a bunch of people I had never met and might never meet. These people carried me through some of the hardest days of my life. They listened to me scream and cry and forgave me when I was an asshole and tried to soothe me when I was desperate to not feel like this and not live in this broken body anymore.

Whether or not we want to be, the people in this community are all connected. We share a common fate. These relationships are laced with primal and fierce emotion because they could be over in an instant. When you are very sick, and you have friends who are very sick, you live in a world where death is an ever present threat. You learn to not be surprised but you can’t learn to not hurt. The pain is the same, every time.

Caring about people and their struggles is not optional. We are too much the same. When the worst happens and one of us dies, it is impossible not to feel your own mortality on top of the sadness of losing someone who is too much like us. You remember the kinship and the shared suffering and a mutual understanding that all of this sucks but we can still have good days and good lives.

The people in this community have become a larger, living thing, bigger than our individual selves. We are bound together by the smoke and dark magic of these diseases and the lives we make despite them. We have evolved to become more powerful and dependent upon each other at once.

The Provider Primer Series: Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS)

Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), also called mast cell activation disorder (MCAD), is an immunologic condition in which mast cells are aberrantly activated, resulting in inappropriate mediator release.

Presentation

  • MCAS can be responsible for chronic symptoms in multiple organs that cannot be attributed to another cause[vi].
  • Patients frequently receive diagnosis for a number of idiopathic conditions prior to correct diagnosis with MCAS[vi].
  • Mast cell activation syndrome is overwhelmingly a secondary condition. MCAS can be secondary to a number of conditions, including autoimmune diseases, connective tissue diseases, and atopic conditions[i].
  • The term “primary MCAS” refers to mediator release symptoms associated with mastocytosis[xvii] . However, the term “mastocytosis” generally conveys the understanding that both proliferation and mediator release symptoms are possible.
  • In idiopathic MCAS, no cause for symptoms can be identified[xvii] .
  • The presence of multiple mast cell patients in one family is not uncommon. A heritable gene has not yet been identified. Epigenetic mechanisms are suspected for transmission of mast cell disease to another generation[iv].
  • Approximately 75% of mast cell patients have at least one first degree relative with mast cell disease and not always the same subtype[ii]. For example, a mother may have MCAS, while one of her children has SM and the other has CM.

Diagnostic criteria

  • MCAS is a recently described diagnosis. In the absence of large studies, several groups have developed their own, sometimes conflicting, diagnostic criteria.
  • Differential diagnoses with potential to cause similar symptoms should be considered and excluded[iii].
  • The criteria most frequently used include those by a 2010 paper by Akin, Valent and Metcalfe[iii]; a 2011 paper by Molderings, Afrin and colleagues[iv]; and a 2013 paper by Castells and colleagues[v].
  • The criteria described in the 2011 paper by Molderings, Afrin and colleagues have been updated to include response to medication[vi].
  • Of note, a 2012 consensus proposal[x] was authored by a number of mast cell experts including Valent, Escribano, Castells, Akin and Metcalfe. It sees little practical use and is not generally accepted in the community.
  • The major sets of criteria listed above all include the following features:
    • Recurrent or chronic symptoms of mast cell activation
    • Objective evidence of excessive mast cell mediator release
    • Positive response to medications that inhibit action of mast cell mediators
  • Valent warns that in some cases, patients may not fulfill all criteria but still warrant treatment: “In many cases, only two or even one of these three criteria can be documented. In the case of typical symptoms, the provisional diagnosis of ‘possibly MCA/MCAS’ can be established, and in acute cases, immediate treatment should be introduced.”[vii]

Evidence of mediator release

  • Mast cells produce a multitude of mediators including tryptase, histamine, prostaglandin D2, leukotrienes C4, D4 and E4, heparin and chromogranin A[viii].
  • Serum tryptase and 24 hour urine testing for n-methylhistamine, prostaglandin D2, prostaglandin 9a,11b-F2 are frequently included in testing guidelines in literature (Castells 2013)[ix], (Akin 2010)[x], (Valent 2012)[xi].
  • It can be helpful to test for other mast cell mediators including 24 hour urine testing for leukotriene E4[xii]; plasma heparin[xiii]; and serum chromogranin A[xiv].
  • In most instances, elevation of a mediator must be present on two occasions[ix]. This helps to exclude situations of appropriate mast cell activation, such as infection or wound healing.
  • For patients with baseline tryptase level >15 ng/mL, elevation of tryptase above this baseline is only required on one occasion[viii].

Symptoms associated with mast cell activation

  • Mediator release causes a wide array of symptoms, including hypertension[xv], hypotension, hypertension, wheezing, itching, flushing, tachycardia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, headache, angioedema, fatigue, and neurologic symptoms[iv].
  • In a small MCAS cohort (18 patients), 17% had a history of anaphylaxis[xvii] . A larger data set is desirable.
  • Patients with history of anaphylaxis should be prescribed epinephrine autoinjectors[v]. If patient must be on a beta blocker, they should be prescribed a glucagon injector for use in the event of anaphylaxis[v].

Response to medications that inhibit action of mast cell mediators

  • Treatment of MCAS is complex and may require a number of medications. Second generation H1 antihistamines; H2 antihistamines; and mast cell stabilizers are mainstays of treatment[xvi].
  • Additional options include aspirin; anti-IgE; leukotriene blocker; and corticosteroids[xiii] .
  • First generation H1 antihistamines may be used for breakthrough symptoms[xiii] .
  • “An important point is that many different mediators may be involved in MCA-related symptoms so that the final conclusion the patient is not responding to antimediator therapy should only be drawn after having applied several different antimediator-type drugs[xiii] .
  • Inactive ingredients are often to blame for reaction to mast cell mediator focused medications. Many mast cell patients see benefit from having medications compounded[xvii].

Natural history

  • In one MCAS cohort of 18 patients, 33% had a complete (no unmanaged symptoms) response and 33% had a major (only one serious symptom) response after one year of mast cell treatment[xviii].
  • In another MCAS cohort of 135 patients, 51% demonstrated significant improvement, 11% had no obvious change in symptom severity and 38% experienced worsening symptoms[v]. (Author’s note: While described in an Afrin 2016[v] paper, the data from this cohort has not yet been published. Molderings is the principle investigator.

 

References

[i] Frieri M, et al. (2013). Mast cell activation syndrome: a review. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 13(1), 27-32.

[ii] Molderings GJ, et al. (2013). Familial occurrence of systemic mast cell activation disease. PLoS One, 8, e76241-24098785

[iii] Akin C, et al. (2010). Mast cell activation syndrome: proposed diagnostic criteria. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 126(6), 1099-1104.e4

[iv] Molderings GJ, et al. (2011). Mast cell activation disease: a concise practical guide for diagnostic workup and therapeutic options. Journal of Hematology & Oncology, 4(10), 10.1186/1756-8722-4-10

[v] Castells M, et al. (2013). Expanding spectrum of mast cell activation disorders: monoclonal and idiopathic mast cell activation syndromes. Clin Ther, 35(5), 548-562.

[vi] Afrin LB, et al. (2016). Often seen, rarely recognized: mast cell activation disease – a guide to diagnosis and therapeutic options. Annals of Medicine, 48(3).

[vii] Valent P. (2013). Mast cell activation syndromes: definition and classification. European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 68(4), 417-424.

[viii] Theoharides TC, et al. (2012). Mast cells and inflammation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease, 1822(1), 21-33.

[ix] Picard M, et al. (2013). Expanding spectrum of mast cell activation disorders: monoclonal and idiopathic mast cell activation syndromes. Clinical Therapeutics, 35(5), 548-562.

[x] Akin C, et al. (2010). Mast cell activation syndrome: proposed diagnostic criteria. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 126(6), 1099-1104.e4

[xi] Valent P, et al. (2012). Definitions, criteria and global classification of mast cell disorders with special reference to mast cell activation syndromes: a consensus proposal. Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 157(3), 215-225.

[xii] Lueke AJ, et al. (2016). Analytical and clinical validation of an LC-MS/MS method for urine leukotriene E4: a marker of systemic mastocytosis. Clin Biochem, 49(13-14), 979-982.

[xiii] Vysniauskaite M, et al. (2015). Determination of plasma heparin level improves identification of systemic mast cell activation disease. PLoS One, 10(4), e0124912

[xiv] Zenker N, Afrin LB. (2015). Utilities of various mast cell mediators in diagnosing mast cell activation syndrome. Blood, 126(5174).

[xv] Shibao C, et al. (2005). Hyperadrenergic postural tachycardia syndrome in mast cell activation disorders. Hypertension, 45(3), 385-390.

[xvi] Cardet JC, et al. (2013). Immunology and clinical manifestations of non-clonal mast cell activation syndrome. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep, 13(1), 10-18.

[xvii] Afrin LB. “Presentation, diagnosis and management of mast cell activation syndrome.” In: Mast Cells. Edited by David B. Murray, Nova cience Publishers, Inc., 2013, 155-232.

[xviii] Hamilton MJ, et al. (2011). Mast cell activation syndrome: a newly recognized disorder with systemic clinical manifestations. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 128(1), 147-152.e2

The Provider Primer Series: Mediator testing

Evidence of mediator release

  • Mast cells produce a multitude of mediators including tryptase, histamine, prostaglandin D2, leukotrienes C4, D4 and E4, heparin and chromogranin A[i].
  • Objective evidence of mast cell mediator release is required for diagnosis of MCAS (Castells 2013)[ii], (Akin 2010)[iii], (Valent 2012)[iv].
  • Serum tryptase and 24 hour urine testing for n-methylhistamine, prostaglandin D2, prostaglandin 9a,11b-F2 are frequently included in MCAS testing recommendations (Castells 2013)[ii], (Akin 2010)[iii], (Valent 2012)[iv].
  • It can be helpful to test for other mast cell mediators including 24 hour urine testing for leukotriene E4[v]; plasma heparin[ix]; serum chromogranin A[ix]; and leukotriene E4[ix].

Tryptase

  • Tryptase is extremely specific for mast cell activation in the absence of hematologic malignancy or advanced kidney disease. Of note, rheumatoid factor can cause false elevation of tryptase[ix].
  • Serum tryptase levels peak 15-120 minutes after release with an estimated half-life of two hours[vi].
  • Per key opinion leaders, tryptase levels should be drawn 15 minutes to 4 hours after onset of anaphylaxis or activation event (Castells 2013[ii]), (Akin 2010[iii]), (Valent 2012)[iv]). Phadia, the manufacturer of the ImmunoCap® test to quantify tryptase, recommends that blood be drawn 15 minutes to 3 hours after event onset[vii].
  • Serum tryptase >11.4 ng/mL is elevated[i]. In addition to measuring tryptase level during the event, another sample should be drawn 24-48 hours after the event, and a third sample drawn two weeks later. This allows comparison of event tryptase level to baseline[vi].
  • An increase in serum tryptase level during an event by 20% + 2 ng/mL above patient baseline is often accepted as evidence of mast cell activation[v],[i].
  • Absent elevation of tryptase level from baseline during an event does not exclude mast cell activation[viii].
  • Sensitivity for serum tryptase assay in MCAS patients was assessed as 10% in a 2014 paper[ix].
  • A recent retrospective study of almost 200 patients found serum was elevated in 8.8% of MCAS patients[x].
  • Baseline tryptase >20.0 ng/mL is a minor criterion for diagnosis of systemic mastocytosis. 77-85% of SM patients have baseline tryptase >20.0 ng/mL[ix].

Histamine and degradation product n-methylhistamine

  • N-methylhistamine is the breakdown product of histamine.
  • Histamine is degraded quickly. Samples should be drawn within 15 minutes of episode onset[vii].
  • Serum histamine levels peak 5 minutes after release and return to baseline in 15-30 minutes[vii].
  • Sample (urine or serum) must be kept chilled[xi].
  • In addition to mast cells, histamine is also released by basophils. Consumption of foods or liquids that contain histamine can also inflate the level when tested[ix].
  • A recent retrospective study of almost 200 patients found that n-methylhistamine was elevated in 7.4% of MCAS patients in random spot urine and 5.4% in 24-hour urine[xi].
  • Sensitivity of 24-hour n-methylhistamine for MCAS was assessed as 22% in 24-hour urine[ix].
  • Plasma histamine was elevated in 29.3% of MCAS patients[xi].
  • 50-81% of systemic mastocytosis patients demonstrate elevated n-methylhistamine in 24-hour urine[ix].

Prostaglandin D2 and degradation product prostaglandin 9a,11b-F2

  • 9a,11b-prostaglandin F2 is the breakdown product of prostaglandin D2.
  • Prostaglandin D2 is only produced in large quantities by mast cells. Basophils, eosinophils and other cells produce minute amounts[ix].
  • A recent retrospective study of almost 200 patients found that PGD2 was elevated in 9.8% of MCAS patients in random spot urines and 38.3% in 24-hour urine[xi].
  • PGD2 was elevated in 13.2% of MCAS patients in plasma[xi].
  • 9a,11b-PGF2 was elevated in 36.8% in 24-hour urine[xi].
  • 62-100% of systemic mastocytosis patients demonstrate elevated prostaglandin D2 or 9a,11b-PGF2 in urine[ix].
  • Prostaglandins are thermolabile and begin to break down in a minutes. This can contribute to false negative results[xi].
  • Medications that inhibit COX-1 and COX-2, such as NSAIDs, decrease prostaglandin production[xi].

Leukotriene E4

  • Leukotriene E4 is produced by mast cells and several other cell types[ix] including eosinophils, basophils and macrophages.
  • A recent retrospective study of almost 200 patients found that LTE4 was elevated in 4.4 % of MCAS patients in random spot urines and 8.3% in 24-hour urine[xi].
  • 44-50% of systemic mastocytosis patients demonstrate elevated leukotriene E4 in urine[ix].
  • Medications that inhibit 5-LO, such as lipoxygenase inhibitors, decrease leukotriene production[xii].

Chromogranin A

  • Chromogranin A is produced by mast cells and several other cell types including chromaffin cells and beta cells.
  • Proton pump inhibitors can cause increased values during testing[xi].
  • A 2014 paper reported chromogranin A was elevated in 12% of MCAS patients and 63% of systemic mastocytosis patients tested[ix].

Heparin

  • Heparin is a very specific mediator for mast cell activation[ix].
  • Heparin is extremely heat sensitive. The sample must be kept on ice or refrigerated at all times[ix].
  • Venous occlusion of upper arm for ten minutes has been successful in provoking mast cell activation leading to heparin release[ix].
  • A 2014 paper reported plasma heparin was elevated in 59% of MCAS patients and 47% of systemic mastocytosis patients tested[ix].
  • A recent retrospective study of almost 200 patients found that plasma heparin was elevated in 28.9% tested[ix].

 

References

[i] Theoharides TC, et al. (2012). Mast cells and inflammation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease, 1822(1), 21-33.

[ii] Picard M, et al. (2013). Expanding spectrum of mast cell activation disorders: monoclonal and idiopathic mast cell activation syndromes. Clinical Therapeutics, 35(5), 548-562.

[iii] Akin C, et al. (2010). Mast cell activation syndrome: proposed diagnostic criteria. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 126(6), 1099-1104.e4

[iv] Valent P, et al. (2012). Definitions, criteria and global classification of mast cell disorders with special reference to mast cell activation syndromes: a consensus proposal. Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 157(3), 215-225.

[v] Lueke AJ, et al. (2016). Analytical and clinical validation of an LC-MS/MS method for urine leukotriene E4: a marker of systemic mastocytosis. Clin Biochem, 49(13-14), 979-982.

[vi] Payne V, Kam PCA. (2004). Mast cell tryptase: a review of its physiology and clinical significance. Anaesthesia, 59(7), 695-703.

[vii] Phadia AB. ImmunoCAP® Tryptase in anaphylaxis. Retrieved from: http://www.phadia.com/Global/Market%20Companies/Sweden/Best%C3%A4ll%20information/Filer%20(pdf)/ImmunoCAP_Tryptase_anafylaxi.pdf

[viii] Sprung J, et al. (2015). Presence or absence of elevated acute total serum tryptase by itself is not a definitive marker for an allergic reaction. Anesthesiology, 122(3), 713-717.

[ix] Vysniauskaite M, et al. (2015). Determination of plasma heparin level improves identification of systemic mast cell activation disease. PLoS One, 10(4), e0124912

[x] Zenker N, Afrin LB. (2015). Utilities of various mast cell mediators in diagnosing mast cell activation syndrome. Blood, 126(5174).

[xi] Afrin LB. “Presentation, diagnosis and management of mast cell activation syndrome.”  Mast Cells, edited by David B. Murray, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2013, 155-231.

[xii] Hui KP, et al. (1991). Effect of a 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor on leukotriene generation and airway responses after allergen challenge in asthmatic patients. Thorax, 46, 184-189.

The Provider Primer Series: Natural history of SM-AHD, MCL and MCS

Natural history of systemic mastocytosis with associated hematologic disease (SM-AHD):

  • SM-AHD is defined by systemic mastocytosis in the presence of another clonal hematologic disease. SM-AHD is thought to comprise 30-40% of all mastocytosis cases[i].
  • In about 90% of cases, the associated blood disorder is a myeloid neoplasm such as myelodysplastic syndrome, myeloid leukemias, or myeloproliferative diseases such as polycythemia vera or essential thrombocythemia[i] . Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) V617F mutation, which has a known association with myeloproliferative neoplastic conditions such as essential thrombocythemia and polycythemia vera, is sometimes present in SM-AHD patients[vii].
  • In this condition, SM and the other blood disorder are treated as separate entities as if they did not co-occur[i]. The conditions are synchronous and the associated hematologic disease does not occur secondarily to SM or treatment thereof. Prognosis in SM-AHD depends almost exclusively upon the associated hematologic concern. In multiple studies, fatalities are reported as result of associated malignancies[ii].
  • Myeloid neoplasms are the most common AHD, including chronic myelomonocytic leukemia or other leukemias, myelodysplastic syndrome, or myeloproliferative diseases[i].
  • In a 138 patient cohort: about 1/3 demonstrated Hgb <100 g/L and platelets<100×109/L; 51% had elevated white cell count; 31% demonstrated frank eosinophilia <1.5×109/L[vii].
  • SM-AHD patients are at increased risk of leukemic transformation relative to other forms of systemic mastocytosis (excluding mast cell leukemia) with a frequency of 14% in a 138 patient cohort[vii].
  • The SM aspect of SM-AHD is diagnosed and staged according to the SM diagnostic algorithm. It is therefore possible for a patient with SM-AHD to have mast cell leukemia or any other subtype of SM[vii].

Natural history of mast cell leukemia (MCL):

Table 1: Diagnostic criteria for mast cell leukemia[iii] 
Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis Mast cells compromise 20% of all nucleated cells in blood smears

 

Table 2: C findings present in acute MCL[iii] 

 

C findings One or more cytopenias (absolute neutrophil count <1000/µl; Hemoglobin <10g/dl; platelets <100000/µl) Hepatomegaly with ascites, elevated liver enzymes with or without portal hypertension Splenomegaly with hypersplenism Malabsorption evidenced by low albumin and weight loss Large osteolysis and/or severe osteoporosis and pathologic fractures (2 or more fractures as direct result of mast cell activity)

 

  • Mast cell leukemia is defined by SM where ≥20% nucleated cells in marrow are mast cells. In leukemic variant, >10% of nucleated cells in blood are mast cells; in aleukemic variant, there are <10% mast cells[iii].
  • MCL can occur de novo or from a previous mast cell neoplastic condition such as aggressive systemic mastocytosis or mast cell sarcoma[iii].
  • CKIT D816V mutation is less common in MCL than in other forms of systemic mastocytosis (50-80%). Some patients have mutations elsewhere in the coding regions of CKIT or a non-D816V mutation at CKIT codon 816. An unusual feature of MCL is that when the disease progresses quickly, the patient may lose positivity for the D816V mutation[iv].
  • MCL patients do not typically demonstrate mastocytosis in the skin[iii].
  • In the absence of C findings, some MCL patients have stable disease without markers of progression. This is referred to as chronic MCL[iii] .
  • >90% mature mast cells is a positive prognostic indicator. Presence of mostly immature mast cells is associated with more aggressive disease[iii] .
  • Acute MCL rapidly causes catastrophic organ damage. Median survival in acute cases is six months, though some MCL patients live for years through the use of newer targeted therapies[iv].
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is an experimental option for MCL patients. In one study, overall survival at the three year mark was 17% (2 of 12 patients)[viii].

Natural history of mast cell sarcoma:

  • Mast cell sarcoma is an exceedingly rare tumor with high grade cytology that can present in a variety of tissues[v].
  • Mast cells that comprise the tumor resemble neither morphologically normal mast cells or spindled cells often seen in SM. In mast cell sarcoma, mast cells are often bilobed and multinucleated tumor cells have been reported. Of note, mast cells compromising the sarcoma often express CD30[iv].
  • Mast cell sarcomas often have neither CKIT D816V mutation nor mutations elsewhere in CKIT coding regions[vi].
  • Mast cell sarcomas often induce only local symptoms at the time of diagnosis but systemic involvement rapidly follows. Mast cell sarcoma may progress to mast cell leukemia. Median survival is 12 months[vi].

References:

[i] Gotlib J. (2013). Approach to the diagnosis and management of mastocytosis. The Hematologist, 10(1). Retrieved from: http://www.hematology.org/Thehematologist/Ask/5960.aspx

[ii] Wang SA. (2013). Systemic mastocytosis with associated clonal hematologic non-mast cell lineage disease (SM-AHNMD): clinical significance and comparison of chromosomal abnormalities in SM and AHNMD components. Am J Hematol, 88(3), 219-224.

[iii] Valent P, et al. (2014). Refined diagnostic criteria and classification of mast cell leukemia (MCL) and myelomastocytic leukemia (MML): a consensus proposal. Ann Oncol, 25(9), 1691-1700.

[iv] Youk J. (2016). A scientific treatment approach for acute mast cell leukemia: using a strategy based on next-generation sequencing data. Blood Res, 51(1), 17-22.

[v] Ryan RJH, et al. (2013). Mast cell sarcoma: a rare and potentially underreecognized diagnostic eneity with specific therapeutic implications. Modern Pathology, 26, 533-543.

[vi] Georgin-Lavialle S, et al. (2013). Mast cell sarcoma: a rare and aggressive entity – report of two cases and review of the literature. JCO, 31(6), e50-e57.

[vii] Lim KH, et al. (2009). Systemic mastocytosis in 342 consecutive adults: survival studies and prognostic factors. Blood, 113(23), 5727-5736.

[viii] Ustun C, et al. (2014). Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for advanced systemic mastocytosis. J Clin Oncol, 32(29), 3264-3274.

The Provider Primer Series: Diagnosis and natural history of systemic mastocytosis (ISM, SSM, ASM)

Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is a primary hematologic disorder marked by the excessive proliferation of mast cells.

Neoplastic nature of mastocytosis:

  • Mast cells produced in this disease are neoplastic and may have some or all of the following markers: presence of somatic gain-of-function mutation at codon 816 of CKIT (KIT), usually, but not always, the D816V mutation; expression of CD2 or CD25 on mast cell surface; atypical spindled morphology of mast cells[i].
  • Mastocytosis is a neoplastic condition that is not described exclusively by excessive population of mast cells. Mast cell hyperplasia can occur in response to a number of conditions including chronic urticaria[ii], irritable bowel syndrome[iii], and other hematologic neoplasia, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and myeloproliferative conditions[iv].
  • To meet criteria for SM, mast cell infiltration must be dense with at least 15 mast cells per cluster. In many instances, there is not a validated range of mast cells/hpf in healthy controls[iv].
Table 1: Diagnostic criteria for systemic mastocytosis[v]

1 major and 1 minor criterion; or 3 minor criteria

Major Multifocal dense infiltrates of mast cells (15 or more in aggregate) detected in sections of bone marrow and/or extracutaneous organ
Minor In biopsy sections, more than 25% of mast cells in infiltrated space are spindle-shaped or otherwise morphologically abnormal; or, of all mast cells in bone marrow aspirate smears, more than 25% mast cells are immature or abnormal. Detection of CKIT mutation at codon 816 in bone marrow, blood or extracutaneous organ Mast cells in bone marrow, blood or other extracutaneous organ that co-expresses CD-117 with CD2 and/or CD25 Baseline serum tryptase of 20 ng/ml or higher.

 

Presence of dense infiltrates:

  • The hallmark sign of systemic mastocytosis is multifocal dense infiltration of an organ that is not the skin. Despite this fact, it is possible to biopsy negative while still having SM. A 2004 study reported the pathological findings of bilateral bone marrow biopsies for 23 patients. 83% of patients demonstrated positive biopsy for SM bilaterally while 17% of patients had only one positive biopsy[vi].
  • One study found that 20% of ISM patients did not have dense infiltration of mast cells in bone marrow[vii].

Tryptase level in systemic mastocytosis:

  • Tryptase ≥20 ng/mL is a minor criterion for SM. In order to meet this criterion, tryptase must be ≥20 ng/mL at baseline, not during or following a reactive or anaphylactic event. Per Phadia, producer of ImmunoCAP® Tryptase test, it can take up to fourteen days for tryptase to return to baseline[viii]. However, other sources recommend shorter time to baseline, as low as “24 hours after clinical signs and symptoms have completely subsided”[ix].
  • 20-30% of SM patients do not meet the minor criterion of tryptase level ≥20 ng/mL[xiii].

Detection of CKIT D816V mutation:

  • The CKIT D816V mutation may not be detected in peripheral blood in a positive patient. Bone marrow aspirate is the preferred sample type for reliable testing for this mutation[xii].
  • One study reported as few as 78% of ISM patients were positive for the CKIT D816V mutation in bone marrow[xiii].

Natural history of indolent systemic mastocytosis:

  • Indolent systemic mastocytosis (ISM) is SM that does not meet criteria for smoldering systemic mastocytosis, aggressive systemic mastocytosis or mast cell leukemia.
  • ISM is largely described by mediator release symptoms and increased risk of anaphylaxis. Mast cell infiltration does not cause appreciable organ dysfunction in this variant[x].
  • Progression from ISM to SSM occurred in about 8% of patients in a cohort of 74. In this same cohort, 4% ISM patients progressed to ASM[xi]. The risk of leukemic transformation from ISM was 0.6% in a cohort of 159[xii].
  • Organomegaly can present without loss of function at any level of hematologic disease in SM. Organ swelling may be stable over long periods of time without progression to aggressive systemic mastocytosis (ASM)[x].
  • Lifespan for indolent systemic mastocytosis is normal[x].
Table 2: Diagnostic criteria for smoldering systemic mastocytosis

 (2 or 3 B findings in addition to meeting criteria for systemic mastocytosis)[i]

B findings Increased mast cell burden (>30% mast cell aggregates on bone marrow biopsy and/or serum tryptase >200 ng/mL) Hypercellular marrow, signs of myelodysplasia or myeloproliferation in absence of MDS or MPN Organ swelling without deficit of organ function (hepatomegaly without ascites, palpable splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy >2 cm)

 

Natural history of smoldering systemic mastocytosis:

  • Smoldering systemic mastocytosis (SSM) is defined by increased systemic mast cell burden, presence of markers associated with progression toward ASM (B findings), and potential need for cytoreduction[xiii].
  • SSM can remain stable for many years, even decadesix. In a cohort of 22 patients with SSM, 1 transformed to acute leukemia and 3 progressed to ASM[xiv].
  • Lifespan may be shortened in SSM. A widely reported study found an average lifespan of 10 years but reported that death was often unrelated to mastocytosis and in some cases was of natural old age[xiii].
Table 3: Diagnostic criteria for aggressive systemic mastocytosis

(1 or more C finding in addition to meeting criteria for systemic mastocytosis)[i]

C findings One or more cytopenias (absolute neutrophil count <1000/µl; Hemoglobin <10g/dl; platelets <100000/µl) Hepatomegaly with ascites, elevated liver enzymes with or without portal hypertension Splenomegaly with hypersplenism Malabsorption evidenced by low albumin and weight loss Large osteolysis and/or severe osteoporosis and pathologic fractures (2 or more fractures as direct result of mast cell activity)

 

Natural history of aggressive systemic mastocytosis:

  • Aggressive systemic mastocytosis (ASM) is defined by significant organ damage and failure as a direct result of mast cell infiltrationxv. Lifespan is often significantly shortened and can be as short as three years[ix] .
  • ASM generally follows one of two paths: a slow progressing form that resembles SSM but has C findings; or a rapidly progressing form that resembles mast cell leukemia. In rapidly progressing ASM, the patient may lose the CKIT D816V mutation[ix] .
  • ASM is managed with cytoreduction but patient response is often short lived. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors and other kinase inhibitors are also used in this population[ix] .
  • In treatment resistant cases, hematopoietic stem cell transplant offers an experimental option. One study on HSCT in advanced systemic mastocytosis included seven ASM patients. 3 (43%) achieved complete remission; 3 (43%) demonstrated progression free survival at the three year mark[xv].

References:

[i] Arber DA, et al. (2016). The 2016 revision to the World Health Organization classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia. Blood, 127(20), 2391-2405.

[ii] Minnei F, et al. (2006). Chronic urticaria is associated with mast cell infiltration in the gastroduodenal mucosa. Virchows Arch, 448(3), 262-268.

[iii] Guilarte M, et al. Diarrhoea-predominant IBS patients show mast cell activation and hyperplasia in the jejunum. Gut, 56, 203-209.

[iv] Hamilton MJ, et al. (2011). Mast cell activation syndrome a newly recognized disorder with systemic clinical manifestations. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 128, 147-152.

[v] Molderings GJ, et al. (2011). Mast cell activation disease: a concise practical guide for diagnostic workup and therapeutic options. Journal of Hematology & Oncology, 4(10), 10.1186/1756-8722-4-10

[vi] Butterfield JH, Li, CY. (2004). Bone marrow biopsies for the diagnosis of systemic mastocytosis: is one biopsy sufficient? Hematopathology, Am J Clin Pathol, 121: 264-267.

[vii] Sanchez-Munoz L, et al. (2011). Evaluation of the WHO criteria for the classification of patients with mastocytosis. Mod Pathol, 24(9), 1157-1168.

[viii] Phadia AB. ImmunoCAP® Tryptase: Clinical utility of Total Tryptase. Retrieved from: http://www.phadia.com/Global/Market%20Companies/Sweden/Best%C3%A4ll%20information/Filer%20(pdf)/ImmunoCAP_Tryptase_Clin_Util.pdf

[ix] Schwartz LB. (2006). Diagnostic value of tryptase in anaphylaxis and mastocytosis. Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America, 26(3), 451-463.

[x] Valent P, et al. (2010). How I treat patients with advanced systemic mastocytosis. Blood, 116(26), 5812-5817.

[xi] Matito A, et al. (2013). Serum tryptase monitoring in indolent systemic mastocytosis: association with disease features and patient outcome. PLoS One, 8(10), e76116.

[xii] Lim KH, et al. (2009). Systemic mastocytosis in 342 consecutive adults: survival studies and prognostic factors. Blood, 113(23), 5727-5736.

[xiii] Pardanini A. (2013). How I treat patients with indolent and smoldering mastocytosis (rare conditions but difficult to manage). Blood, 121, 3085-3094.

[xiv] Pardanini A. (2010). WHO subvariants of indolent mastocytosis: clinical details and prognostic evaluation in 159 consecutive adults. Blood, 115, 150-151.

[xv] Ustun C, et al. (2014). Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation for advanced systemic mastocytosis. J Clin Oncol, 32(29), 3264-3274.

[xvi] Pardanini A. (2013). Systemic mastocytosis in adults: 2013 update on diagnosis, risk stratification, and management. American Journal of Hematology, 88(7, 612-624).

[xvii] Valent P, et al. (2003). Aggressive systemic mastocytosis and related mast cell disorders: current treatment options and proposed response criteria. Leuk Res, 27(7), 635-641.

The Provider Primer Series: Diagnostic criteria of systemic mastocytosis and all subvariants

World Health Organization Classification

  • Mastocytosis was classified by the WHO as a myeloproliferative neoplasm for a number of years. In 2016, the WHO placed mastocytosis into its own category, separate from myeloproliferative neoplasms.
  • In a paper summarizing changes to WHO classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemias, the author stated that “mastocytosis…is no longer considered a subgroup of the MPNs due to its unique clinical and pathologic features, ranging from indolent cutaneous disease to aggressive systemic disease, and is now a separate disease category in the classification[i].”
Table 1: WHO Classification of Mastocytosisi
Category Subtype
Cutaneous mastocytosis (CM) Cutaneous mastocytosis (CM), including maculopapular cutaneous mastocytosis (MPCM, previously called urticaria pigmentosa); solitary mastocytoma of the skin; diffuse cutaneous mastocytosis*Author’s note: Telangiectasia macularis eruptiva perstans (TMEP) is considered a variant of maculopapular cutaneous mastocytosis (MPCM, previously called urticaria pigmentosa)
Systemic mastocytosis (SM) Indolent systemic mastocytosis (ISM)
Smoldering systemic mastocytosis (SSM)
Systemic mastocytosis with an associated hematologic neoplasm (SM-AHN)
Aggressive systemic mastocytosis (ASM)
Mast cell leukemia (MCL)
Mast cell sarcoma (MCS) Mast cell sarcoma (MCS)

 

Diagnostic criteria for subvariants of systemic mastocytosis

Table 2: Diagnostic criteria for indolent systemic mastocytosis[ii] 1 major and 1 minor criterion; or 3 minor criteria
Major Multifocal dense infiltrates of mast cells (15 or more in aggregate) detected in sections of bone marrow and/or extracutaneous organ
Minor In biopsy sections, more than 25% of mast cells in infiltrated space are spindle-shaped or otherwise morphologically abnormal; or, of all mast cells in bone marrow aspirate smears, more than 25% mast cells are immature or abnormal. Detection of CKIT mutation at codon 816 in bone marrow, blood or extracutaneous organ Mast cells in bone marrow, blood or other extracutaneous organ that co-expresses CD-117 with CD2 and/or CD25 Baseline serum tryptase of 20 ng/ml or higher.

 

Table 3: Examples that meet minimum criteria for indolent systemic mastocytosis
Scenario 1:

1 major criterion, 1 minor criterion

Major criterion: Multifocal dense infiltrates of mast cells (15 or more in aggregate) detected in sections of bone marrow and/or extracutaneous organ Minor criterion: Baseline serum tryptase of 20 ng/ml or higher.
Scenario 2:

major criterion, 1 minor criterion

Major criterion: Multifocal dense infiltrates of mast cells (15 or more in aggregate) detected in sections of bone marrow and/or extracutaneous. Minor criterion: In biopsy sections, more than 25% of mast cells in infiltrated space are spindle-shaped or otherwise morphologically abnormal; or, of all mast cells in bone marrow aspirate smears, more than 25% mast cells are immature or abnormal
Scenario 3:

1 major criterion, 1 minor criterion

Major criterion: Multifocal dense infiltrates of mast cells (15 or more in aggregate) detected in sections of bone marrow and/or extracutaneous Minor criterion: Detection of CKIT mutation at codon 816 in bone marrow, blood or extracutaneous organ
Scenario 4:

1 major criterion, 1 minor criterion

Major criterion: Multifocal dense infiltrates of mast cells (15 or more in aggregate) detected in sections of bone marrow and/or extracutaneous Minor criterion: Mast cells in bone marrow, blood or other extracutaneous organ that co-expresses CD-117 with CD2 and/or CD25
Scenario 5:

3 minor criteria

Minor criterion: Mast cells in bone marrow, blood or other extracutaneous organ that co-expresses CD-117 with CD2 and/or CD25 Minor criterion: Detection of CKIT mutation at codon 816 in bone marrow, blood or extracutaneous organ Minor criterion: Baseline serum tryptase of 20 ng/ml or higher.
Scenario 6:

3 minor criteria

Minor criterion: Mast cells in bone marrow, blood or other extracutaneous organ that co-expresses CD-117 with CD2 and/or CD25 Minor criterion: Detection of CKIT mutation at codon 816 in bone marrow, blood or extracutaneous organ Minor criterion: In biopsy sections, more than 25% of mast cells in infiltrated space are spindle-shaped or otherwise morphologically abnormal; or, of all mast cells in bone marrow aspirate smears, more than 25% mast cells are immature or abnormal
Scenario 7:

3 minor criteria

Minor criterion: Mast cells in bone marrow, blood or other extracutaneous organ that co-expresses CD-117 with CD2 and/or CD25 Minor criterion:Baseline serum tryptase of 20 ng/ml or higher. Minor criterion: In biopsy sections, more than 25% of mast cells in infiltrated space are spindle-shaped or otherwise morphologically abnormal; or, of all mast cells in bone marrow aspirate smears, more than 25% mast cells are immature or abnormal
Scenario 8:

3 minor criteria

Minor criterion: In biopsy sections, more than 25% of mast cells in infiltrated space are spindle-shaped or otherwise morphologically abnormal; or, of all mast cells in bone marrow aspirate smears, more than 25% mast cells are immature or abnormal Minor criterion:Baseline serum tryptase of 20 ng/ml or higher. Minor criterion: Detection of CKIT mutation at codon 816 in bone marrow, blood or extracutaneous organ

Systemic mastocytosis with an associated hematologic neoplasm (SM-AHN) is essentially treated as two separate condition: systemic mastocytosis and an associated hematologic neoplastic condition. Accordingly, the diagnostic criteria for the systemic mastocytosis aspect of this diagnosis is the same as described here.

Table 4: Diagnostic criteria for smoldering systemic mastocytosis (2 or 3 B findings)[ii]
B findings Increased mast cell burden (>30% mast cell aggregates on bone marrow biopsy and/or serum tryptase >200 ng/mL) Hypercellular marrow, signs of myelodysplasia or myeloproliferation in absence of MDS or MPN Organ swelling without deficit of organ function (hepatomegaly without ascites, palpable splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy >2 cm)

 

Table 5: Examples that meet the criteria for smoldering systemic mastocytosis (2 or 3 B findings)
Scenario 1:

2 B findings

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis Increased mast cell burden (>30% mast cell aggregates on bone marrow biopsy and/or serum tryptase >200 ng/mL) Hypercellular marrow, signs of myelodysplasia or myeloproliferation in absence of MDS or MPN
Scenario 2:

2 B findings

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis Increased mast cell burden (>30% mast cell aggregates on bone marrow biopsy and/or serum tryptase >200 ng/mL) Organ swelling without deficit of organ function (hepatomegaly without ascites, palpable splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy >2 cm)
Scenario 3:

2 B findings

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis Hypercellular marrow, signs of myelodysplasia or myeloproliferation in absence of MDS or MPN Organ swelling without deficit of organ function (hepatomegaly without ascites, palpable splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy >2 cm)
Scenario 4:

3 B findings

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis Increased mast cell burden (>30% mast cell aggregates on bone marrow biopsy and/or serum tryptase >200 ng/mL) Hypercellular marrow, signs of myelodysplasia or myeloproliferation in absence of MDS or MPN Organ swelling without deficit of organ function (hepatomegaly without ascites, palpable splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy >2 cm)

 

Table 6: Diagnostic criteria for aggressive systemic mastocytosis (1 or more C finding)[ii]
C findings One or more cytopenias (absolute neutrophil count <1000/µl; Hemoglobin <10g/dl; platelets <100000/µl) Hepatomegaly with ascites, elevated liver enzymes with or without portal hypertension Splenomegaly with hypersplenism Malabsorption evidenced by low albumin and weight loss Large osteolysis and/or severe osteoporosis and pathologic fractures (2 or more fractures as direct result of mast cell activity)

 

Table 7: Examples that meet the minimum criteria for aggressive systemic mastocytosis (1 or more C finding) 
Scenario 1:

1 C finding

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis 1 or more B findings may be present, not a requirement One or more cytopenias (absolute neutrophil count <1000/µl; Hemoglobin <10g/dl; platelets <100000/µl)
Scenario 2:

1 C finding

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis 1 or more B findings may be present, not a requirement Malabsorption evidenced by low albumin and weight loss
Scenario 3:

1 C finding

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis 1 or more B findings may be present, not a requirement Large osteolysis and/or severe osteoporosis and pathologic fractures (2 or more fractures as direct result of mast cell activity)
Scenario 4:

1 C finding

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis 1 or more B findings may be present, not a requirement Hepatomegaly with ascites, elevated liver enzymes with or without portal hypertension
Scenario 5:

1 C finding

Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis 1 or more B findings may be present, not a requirement Splenomegaly with hypersplenism

 

Table 8: Diagnostic criteria for mast cell leukemia[iii]
Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis Mast cells compromise 20% of all nucleated cells in blood smears

 

Table 9: Examples that meet the minimum criteria for mast cell leukemia
Scenario 1 Meets criteria for systemic mastocytosis B findings may be present but are not required C findings may be present but are not required Mast cells compromise 20% of all nucleated cells in blood smears

 

[i] Arber DA, et al. (2016). The 2016 revisioin to the World Health Organization classification of myeloid neoplasms and acute leukemia. Blood, 127(20), 2391-2405.

[ii] Molderings GJ, et al. (2011). Mast cell activation disease: a concise practical guide for diagnostic workup and therapeutic options. Journal of Hematology & Oncology, 4(10), 10.1186/1756-8722-4-10

[iii] Valent P, et al. (2014). Refined diagnostic criteria and classification of mast cell leukemia (MCL) and myelomastocytic leukemia (MML): a consensus proposal. Ann Oncol, 25(9), 1691-1700.