Mast cell sarcoma: clinicopathologic and molecular analysis of 10 new cases and review of literature

Mod Pathol. 2022 Jul;35(7):865-874. doi: 10.1038/s41379-022-01014-w. Epub 2022 Feb 1.


Mast cell sarcoma (MCS) is an exceedingly rare form of mastocytosis characterized by invasive malignant mast cell growth and metastatic potential. Diagnosis of MCS is very challenging due to its marked morphologic variations and significant immunophenotypic overlap with other neoplasms. In this study, we undertook an extensive study of 10 cases of MCS from our series, with review of additional 24 cases from the literature, to better clarify the clinicopathologic and molecular features of MCS. From the analyses of our 10 cases, MCS equally involved males and females with a median age of 54.5 years (range 1-63). The bone was the most common site of involvement, as noted in 9/10 of cases. Two patients had prior germ cell tumors (mediastinal germ cell tumor and ovarian dysgerminoma), and concurrent systemic mastocytosis was noted in one of nine patients. Serum tryptase levels were elevated in 6/7 of patients, and 3/9 of patients had mast cell activation symptoms. Morphologically, the tumor cells were typically large and pleomorphic with frequent reactive eosinophils. By immunohistochemical staining, MCS consistently expressed CD43 (8/8), CD117 (10/10), and mast cell tryptase (10/10), as well as CD13 (3/3) and CD33 (10/10), with variable positivity of CD2 (1/9), CD25 (4/9), CD30 (5/8), and CD68 (5/9). Notably, KIT D816V was not detected in nine cases in our study, although two cases had other mutations of KIT gene. Seven out of eight patients received chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. However, the response was poor, and four out of eight patients died within a median follow-up interval of five months. Taken together, there are no standardized therapeutic regimens available for MCS at this time, and the prognosis is dismal. Therefore, it is critical to further investigate and characterize this rare entity, with the hope of improving diagnostic accuracy and providing more effective, targeted therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / chemistry
  • Mast Cells / pathology
  • Mast-Cell Sarcoma* / pathology
  • Mastocytosis* / genetics
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic* / diagnosis
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic* / genetics
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic* / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit