Pancreatic tumor in type 1 autoimmune pancreatitis: A diagnostic challenge

Pei Xiang, Xiaoling Zhang, Chaoyang Wang, Yuejiao Lang, Ling Xu, Li Huang, Jingxian Shen, Shi Ting Feng

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The co-occurrence of type 1 autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) and pancreatic tumor (PaT) has been previously reported. Pure AIP cases have favorable prognosis and are primarily treated with steroids, while AIP cases with PaT are associated with poor prognosis where the primary management is pancreatic resection. However, it's a challenge to timely identify the concurrent PaT in AIP because of their similar clinical and radiological manifestations. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the data in two medical centers from January 2010 to April 2019. The inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) completion of abdominal CT imaging before invasive procedures to the pancreas, 2) a final diagnosis of type 1 AIP using the 2011 international consensus diagnostic criteria, 3) follow-up duration of at least one month unless AIP and PaT were identified simultaneously. The presence of PaT in AIP was made based on histopathological confirmation, and the absence of PaT in AIP was defined as no pathological or radiological evidence of concurrent PaT. Clinical and radiological characteristics including gender, age, surveillance period, serum IgG4 and Ca-199 levels, biopsy, extrapancreatic involvement, CT and MR (if performed) imaging characteristics were compared between AIP with and without PaT. The Fisher's exact test was used for qualitative variables, and nonparametric Mann-Whitney test for quantitative variables. A p value ≤0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 74 patients with type 1 AIP were included, of which 5 (6.7%) had the concurrent PaT. The subtypes were pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (3/5), solitary extramedullary plasmacytoma in the pancreas (1/5) and cholangiocarcinoma in the pancreatic segment (1/5), respectively. Gender (p = 0.044), the pattern of pancreatic enlargement (p = 0.003), heterogeneity (p = 0.015), low-density (p = 0.004) on CT and rim enhancement on MRI (p = 0.050) differed significantly between AIP with and without PaT. None of the low-density characteristics on CT or other assessed MRI characteristics could significantly differentiate the two groups (p>0.05). Conclusions: Female, focal pancreatic enlargement, pancreatic heterogeneity, low-density on CT and rim enhancement on MRI are suggestive of the concurrent PaT in type 1 AIP. The characteristics of low-density on CT or other MRI characteristics did not provide further diagnostic values.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number814
    JournalBMC Cancer
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019


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