Challenges in the Diagnosis of Cutaneous Mastocytosis

Knut Brockow*, Rebekka Karolin Bent, Simon Schneider, Sophie Spies, Katja Kranen, Benedikt Hindelang, Zsuzsanna Kurgyis, Sigurd Broesby-Olsen, Tilo Biedermann, Clive E. Grattan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Mastocytosis is characterized by an accumulation of clonal mast cells (MCs) in tissues such as the skin. Skin lesions in mastocytosis may be clinically subtle or heterogeneous, and giving the correct diagnosis can be difficult. Methods: This study compiles personal experiences together with relevant literature, discussing possible obstacles encountered in diagnosing skin involvement in mastocytosis and cutaneous mastocytosis (CM). Results: The nomenclature of the term “CM” is ambiguous. The WHO classification defines CM as mastocytosis solely present in the skin. However, the term is also used as a morphological description, e.g., in maculopapular cutaneous mastocytosis (MPCM). This is often seen in systemic, as well as cutaneous, mastocytosis. Typical CM manifestations (MPCM), including mastocytoma or diffuse cutaneous mastocytosis (DCM), all share a positive Darier’s sign, and can thus be clinically recognized. Nevertheless, distinguishing monomorphic versus polymorphic MPCM may be challenging, even for experienced dermatologists. Less typical clinical presentations, such as MPCM with telangiectatic erythemas (formerly called telangiectasia macularis eruptiva perstans), confluent, nodular or xanthelasmoid variants may require a skin biopsy for histopathological confirmation. Because MC numbers in CM have a large overlap to those in healthy and inflamed skin, detailed histopathological criteria to diagnose mastocytosis in MPCM are needed and have been proposed. D816V KIT mutational analysis in tissue is helpful for confirming the diagnosis. Biomarkers allow the prediction of the course of CM into regression or evolution of the disease. Further diagnostic measures should screen for concomitant diseases, such as malignant melanoma, and for systemic involvement. Conclusions: Whereas in typical cases the diagnosis of CM may be uncomplicated, less typical manifestations may require specific investigations for making the diagnosis and predicting its course.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161
JournalDiagnostics
Volume14
Issue number2
Number of pages13
ISSN2075-4418
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • challenges
  • dermatohistopathology
  • diagnosis
  • KIT
  • mast cells
  • mastocytosis
  • MPCM
  • urticaria pigmentosa

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