Serum tryptase was measured with the B12 and G5 antibody-based immunoassays in 25 adult patients with mastocytosis and in 18 controls. Twelve patients had uncomplicated cutaneous mastocytosis (urticaria pigmentosa) and 13 had urticaria pigmentosa with systemic symptoms. Tryptase levels were compared with histamine turnover estimated as urinary excretion of the main histamine metabolite tele-methylimidazoleacetic acid. Elevated B12 tryptase levels (> 20 μg/L) were found in most mastocytosis patients, including five of eight patients with only cutaneous manifestations who had a low urinary histamine metabolite excretion. This indicated a higher sensitivity for diagnosing mild mastocytosis on the basis of levels of serum tryptase as opposed to urinary methylimidazoleacetic acid. However, the serum B12 tryptase assay could not differentiate between urticaria pigmentosa patients with and without systemic disease: the measurement of histamine metabolite excretion probably reflects the mast cell burden more accurately. Serum G5 tryptase levels were generally low in both controls and mastocytosis patients.