Published online May 14, 2011. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i18.2332
Revised: December 14, 2010
Accepted: December 21, 2010
Published online: May 14, 2011
AIM: To identify pancreatographic findings that facilitate differentiating between autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) and pancreatic cancer (PC) on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP).
METHODS: ERCP findings of 48 AIP and 143 PC patients were compared. Diagnostic accuracies for AIP by ERCP and MRCP were compared in 30 AIP patients.
RESULTS: The following ERCP findings suggested a diagnosis of AIP rather than PC. Obstruction of the main pancreatic duct (MPD) was more frequently detected in PC (P < 0.001). Skipped MPD lesions were detected only in AIP (P < 0.001). Side branch derivation from the narrowed MPD was more frequent in AIP (P < 0.001). The narrowed MPD was longer in AIP (P < 0.001), and a narrowed MPD longer than 3 cm was more frequent in AIP (P < 0.001). Maximal diameter of the upstream MPD was smaller in AIP (P < 0.001), and upstream dilatation of the MPD less than 5 mm was more frequent in AIP (P < 0.001). Stenosis of the lower bile duct was smooth in 87% of AIP and irregular in 65% of PC patients (P < 0.001). Stenosis of the intrahepatic or hilar bile duct was detected only in AIP (P = 0.001). On MRCP, diffuse narrowing of the MPD on ERCP was shown as a skipped non-visualized lesion in 50% and faint visualization in 19%, but segmental narrowing of the MPD was visualized faintly in only 14%.
CONCLUSION: Several ERCP findings are useful for differentiating AIP from PC. Although MRCP cannot replace ERCP for the diagnostic evaluation of AIP, some MRCP findings support the diagnosis of AIP.