Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 149-159

Autoimmune pancreatitis: Current perspectives

Department of Pathology, GIPMER, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Puja Sakhuja
Director Professor and Head, Department of Pathology, GIPMER, New Delhi - 110 002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpm.ijpm_59_21

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Over the last two decades, our knowledge and understanding regarding the pathogenesis and biology of autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) have improved tremendously. Type 1 AIP or IgG4-related pancreatitis (IgG4-RP) is now believed to be the prototype of the multisystemic IgG4-related disease. In view of clinical features like obstructive jaundice and mass-forming lesions in the pancreas in elderly men, type 1 AIP often mimics pancreatic cancer. IgG4-related sclerosing cholangitis concomitantly involving the extrahepatic and intrahepatic biliary tree is the most common extrapancreatic involvement seen in up to 80% of these patients, which needs to distinguish from cholangiocarcinoma. Histology is characterised by lymphoplasmacytic inflammation, abundant IgG4 positive plasma cell infiltration, storiform fibrosis and obliterative phlebitis. Apart from histology, high serum IgG4 levels, pancreatic parenchymal and duct imaging findings and other organ involvement aid in diagnosis especially in cases where definitive histology is not evident. Also, these parameters lay the foundation of various diagnostic criteria proposed over last few years. On the contrary, histology alone is the mainstay for establishing diagnosis of idiopathic duct-centric pancreatitis (IDCP) as it lacks any specific serological marker or imaging. Since both types of AIP respond dramatically to corticosteroid treatment, a biopsy is crucial to establish the preoperative diagnosis and to exclude malignancy so as to avoid unnecessary surgery. This review discusses the morphologic spectrum, treatment and prognosis of IgG4-RP and IDCP with an emphasis on approach to diagnosis with relevant histologic features, differential diagnoses and the challenges faced during biopsy interpretation.

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