Tumor-associated mast cells in urothelial bladder cancer: Optimizing immuno-oncology

Hae Woong Choi, Manisha Naskar, Ho Kyung Seo, Hye Won Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Urothelial bladder cancer (UBC) is one of the most prevalent and aggressive malignancies. Recent evidence indicates that the tumor microenvironment (TME), including a variety of immune cells, is a critical modulator of tumor initiation, progression, evolution, and treatment resistance. Mast cells (MCs) in UBC are possibly involved in tumor angiogenesis, tissue remodeling, and immunomodulation. Moreover, tumor-infiltration by MCs has been reported in early-stage UBC patients. This infiltration is linked with a favorable or unfavorable prognosis depending on the tumor type and location. Despite the discrepancy of MC function in tumor progression, MCs can modify the TME to regulate the immunity and infiltration of tumors by producing an array of mediators. Nonetheless, the precise role of MCs in UBC tumor progression and evolution remains unknown. Thus, this review discusses some critical roles of MCs in UBC. Patients with UBC are treated at both early and late stages by immunotherapeutic methods, including intravenous bacillus Calmette– Guérin instillation and immune checkpoint blockade. An understanding of the patient response and resistance mechanisms in UBC is required to unlock the complete potential of immunotherapy. Since MCs are pivotal to understand the underlying processes and predictors of therapeutic responses in UBC, our review also focuses on possible immunotherapeutic treatments that involve MCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1500
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Bladder cancer
  • Mast cells
  • Mucosal immune barrier
  • Pro-tumor immunity immunotherapy
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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