Methods for the study of mast cells in cancer

Nichole R. Blatner, Fu Nien Tsai, Khashayarsha Khazaie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Tumor growth requires interactions of tumor cells with a receptive and inductive microenvironment. Two major populations of tumor-infiltrating cells are considered to be essential for producing such a microenvironment: (1) proinflammatory cells that nurture the tumor with growth factors and facilitate invasion and metastasis by secreting proteases and (2) immune suppressive leukocytes including T-regulatory cells (Treg) that hinder tumor-specific CD8 T-cell responses, which otherwise could potentially reject the tumor. Among the proinflammatory cells, accumulation of mast cells (MCs) in human tumors is frequently recorded and was recently linked with poor prognosis. Causative links between mast cell infiltration and tumor progression can be deduced from animal studies. There is an interesting link between mast cells and Treg. The adoptive transfer of Treg from healthy syngeneic mice to mice susceptible to colon cancer suppresses focal mastocytosis and hinders tumor progression. Furthermore, T-cell-deficient mice susceptible to colon cancer show enhanced focal mastocytosis and tumor invasion. Here, we describe methods to assess MCs in mouse models of cancer and to investigate how MCs affect tumor epithelium. Additionally, we will detail methods used to investigate how T cells influence MCs and how MCs influence T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMast Cells: Methods and Protocols
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781493915682
ISBN (Print)9781493915675
StatePublished - Nov 11 2014


  • Colon cancer
  • Mast cell
  • Polyposis
  • Treg

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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