Systemic mastocytosis (SM) is a rare clonal hematologic neoplasm, driven, in almost all cases, by the activating KIT
D816V mutation that leads to the growth and accumulation of neoplastic mast cells. While patients with advanced forms of SM have a poor prognosis, the introduction of KIT inhibitors (e.g., midostaurin, and avapritinib) has changed their outlook. Because of the heterogenous nature of advanced SM (advSM), successive iterations of response criteria have tried to capture different dimensions of the disease, including measures of mast cell burden (percentage of bone marrow mast cells and serum tryptase level), and mast cell-related organ damage (referred to as C findings). Historically, response criteria have been anchored to reversion of one or more organ damage finding(s) as a minimal criterion for response. This is a central principle of the Valent criteria, Mayo criteria, and International Working Group-Myeloproliferative Neoplasms Research and Treatment and European Competence Network on Mastocytosis (IWG-MRT-ECNM) consensus criteria. Irrespective of the response criteria, an ever-present challenge is how to apply response criteria in patients with SM and an associated hematologic neoplasm, where the presence of both diseases complicates assignment of organ damage and adjudication of response. In the context of trials with the selective KIT
D816V inhibitor avapritinib, pure pathologic response (PPR) criteria, which rely solely on measures of mast cell burden and exclude consideration of organ damage findings, are being explored as more robust surrogate of overall survival. In addition, the finding that avapritinib can elicit complete molecular responses of KIT
D816V allele burden, establishes a new benchmark for advSM and motivates the inclusion of definitions for molecular response in future criteria. Herein, we also outline how the concept of PPR can inform a proposal for new response criteria which use a tiered evaluation of pathologic, molecular, and clinical responses.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited