Digestive and Liver Disease vol:39 issue:7 pages:693-697
A 46-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital with complaints of chronic diarrhoea, vomiting and severe muscle weakness. Clinical examination showed a lethargic, malnourished, dehydrated patient with ascites and bilateral leg oedema. Laboratory evaluation revealed mild normochromic normocytic anaemia and severe hypoproteinaemia with hypoalbuminaemia. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy showed a thickened, friable duodenal mucosa with multiple erosions. Colonoscopy revealed nodular, pseudopolypoid lesions with patchy erosions in the left hemicolon. Haematoxylin-eosin stained sections from biopsies of endoscopically abnormal bowel segments showed multi-focal aggregates of large, histiocyte-like cells with abundant pale cytoplasm in the lamina propria. These cells were negative on PAS, Ziehl-Neelsen, Giemsa and toluidine blue stains. Their immunophenotype was CD68 (+), c-kit/CD117 (+) and mast cell tryptase (+), which is consistent with mast cells. A trephine biopsy showed diffuse replacement of the bone marrow by atypical, monomorphic, frequently spindle-shaped mast cells. No associated haematopoietic malignancy was detected. The final diagnosis was aggressive systemic mastocytosis with involvement of the gastrointestinal tract complicated by protein-losing enteropathy. This association has not been reported previously. The patient has been treated with prednisolone and interferon-alpha and has since recovered.