BACKGROUND: Mast cells are of interest in prostate cancer because they possess both pro- and anti-tumorigenic properties and are present in the tumor microenvironment. We studied the association of mast cell count and densities with prostate cancer recurrence using tissue microarrays (TMAs) for 462 men who recurred (cases) and 462 controls that were matched to the cases nested in a cohort of radical prostatectomy patients. METHODS: Dual-immunostaining for mast cell tryptase and epithelial cytokeratin-8 and whole slide image analysis were used to assess total mast cell number, mast cell density (mast cell number/tissue area), and mast cell number per epithelial or stromal area in TMA spots containing tumor (up to 4 per man). We used conditional logistic regression to estimate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval of recurrence for the mean, minimum, and maximum mast cell parameters in tumor tissue among each man’s TMA spots. RESULTS: After taking into account matching factors of age, race, Gleason sum, and pathologic stage, higher minimum mast cell density in the tumor (comparing highest to lowest quartiles: OR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.40-0.86; P-trend = 0.004) was associated with a lower risk of recurrence. Patterns for mast cell number and ratio of mast cell number to epithelial or stromal area were similar to those for mast cell density. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that intratumoral mast cells may be protective against prostate cancer recurrence and could potentially serve as a prognostic biomarker after prostatectomy. Prostate 77: 412-424, 2017. (c) 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.