Cutaneous mastocytosis in childhood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review



Mastocytoses are characterized by clonal proliferation of mast cells in various tissues. In childhood, cutaneous mastocytosis (CM) occurs almost exclusively. It is confined to the skin, and has a good prognosis. The most common form is the maculopapular cutaneous mastocytosis (MPCM), formerly called urticaria pigmentosa. A distinction is made between a monomorphic variant of MPCM with multiple small, roundish maculopapular skin lesions and the - more common - polymorphic variant with larger lesions of variable size. One quarter of CM diagnosed in childhood are mastocytomas, which often occur solitary or at multiple sites. The diffuse variant of CM (DCM), which affects 5% of children with CM, should be distinguished from these forms. Systemic mastocytoses (SM) with mast cell infiltrates in the bone marrow or other extracutaneous tissues, such as the gastrointestinal tract, occur predominantly in adults. The diagnosis of CM is usually made clinically: Manifestation in infancy, typical morphology and distribution, pathognomonic Darier sign. Basal serum tryptase is determined if DCM or systemic mastocytosis are to be diagnosed. Children with mastocytosis should be managed in a specialized outpatient clinic. For affected families, detailed information about the clinical picture including prognosis assessment is essential. Mast cell mediated symptoms are controlled by oral non-sedating antihistamines if needed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAllergologie select
Publication statusPublished - 2022

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC8750954
ORCID /0000-0001-7457-6481/work/147674456