Advanced systemic mastocytosis: the impact of KIT mutations in diagnosis, treatment, and progression

Eur J Haematol. 2013 Feb;90(2):89-98. doi: 10.1111/ejh.12043.


Apart from indolent systemic mastocytosis (SM), which is associated with a favorable prognosis, other subtypes of SM (SM with associated clonal hematologic non-mast cell lineage disease, aggressive SM, and mast cell leukemia - collectively referred to in this review as advanced SM) can be debilitating. The complexity of SM makes both the diagnosis and design of response criteria challenging for clinical studies. The tyrosine kinase KIT has been shown to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of SM and has been a focal point in the development of targeted therapy. Mutations within various domains of the KIT receptor that lead to constitutive activation have been identified in patients, and those involving the activation loop of the KIT receptor are the mutations most frequently detected in patients with mastocytosis. Aberrant activation of the KIT receptor results in increased production of mast cells in extracutaneous organs that may lead to organ failure or early death. This review discusses the diagnosis and management of patients with advanced SM, including the relevance of KIT in this disease, potential therapies targeting this kinase, and criteria for measuring responses to these therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Mast-Cell / diagnosis*
  • Leukemia, Mast-Cell / enzymology
  • Leukemia, Mast-Cell / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Mast-Cell / pathology
  • Leukemia, Mast-Cell / therapy*
  • Mast Cells / enzymology
  • Mast Cells / pathology
  • Mutation*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / metabolism


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit