Utility of hydroxyurea in mast cell activation syndrome
Division of Hematology/Oncology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Experimental Hematology & Oncology 2013, 2:28 doi:10.1186/2162-3619-2-28Published: 9 October 2013
Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is a relatively recently recognized cause of chronic multisystem polymorbidity of a generally inflammatory theme. Patients with MCAS often report migratory soft tissue and/or bone pain which frequently responds poorly to typical (narcotic and non-narcotic) analgesics as well as atypical analgesics such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants. Hydroxyurea (HU) is an oral ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor commonly used in the treatment of chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms and sickle cell anemia. HU has been used to treat systemic mastocytosis, sometimes effecting improvement in MC activation symptoms but not tumor burden, suggesting potential utility of the drug in MCAS, too. Reported here are five cases of successful use of relatively low-dose HU in MCAS to reduce symptoms including previously refractory soft tissue and/or bone pain. HU may be useful in treating mediator symptoms in MCAS, but further study is needed to define optimal dosing strategies and patient subpopulations most likely to benefit.