Controversial role of mast cells in skin cancers

Gilda Varricchi, Maria R. Galdiero, Giancarlo Marone, Francescopaolo Granata, Francesco Borriello, Gianni Marone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer development is a multistep process characterized by genetic and epigenetic alterations during tumor initiation and progression. The stromal microenvironment can promote tumor development. Mast cells, widely distributed throughout all tissues, are a stromal component of many solid and haematologic tumors. Mast cells can be found in human and mouse models of skin cancers such as melanoma, basal and squamous cell carcinomas, primary cutaneous lymphomas, haemangiomas and Merkel cell carcinoma. However, human and animal studies addressing potential functions of mast cells and their mediators in skin cancers have provided conflicting results. In several studies, mast cells play a pro-tumorigenic role, whereas in others, they play an anti-tumorigenic role. Other studies have failed to demonstrate a clear role for tumor-associated mast cells. Many unanswered questions need to be addressed before we understand whether tumor-associated mast cells are adversaries, allies or simply innocent bystanders in different types and subtypes of skin cancers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Dermatology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016


  • Angiogenesis
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Mast cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


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