Purpose of review: As in our previous reviews, we endeavor to review important new observations in chronic pancreatitis made in the past year. We included articles, including review articles, only if they contained new observations or readdressed old questions and provided new insights into old and new concepts.
Recent findings: Important observations include the following: (1) Strong association between cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator dysfunction/mutations and 'recurrent acute pancreatitis', particularly in patients with pancreas divisum (2) Pancreas divisum may be incidental finding in recurrent acute pancreatitis (3) Smoking increases risk of chronic pancreatitis (4) Coxsackie B virus may increase severity of alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (5) CD4+ T cells and an immune reaction against amylase may play a role in pathogenesis of autoimmune pancreatitis (6) 2-(18F)-Fluro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography might be useful to detect pancreatic cancer in chronic pancreatitis patients at risk for developing pancreatic cancer, but contrast-enhanced Doppler ultrasound or endosonography may be as sensitive and better than contrast enhanced computed tomography (7) Superiority of surgery vs endotherapy for long term pain relief and weight gain in painful chronic pancreatitis (8) Early treatment of pain and malabsorption may improve life quality (9) Antifibrogenesis and fibrolytic agents as potential therapies.
Summary: Ongoing basic and clinical research this past year has further characterized genetic, molecular and clinical aspects of chronic pancreatitis. The advent of predictable and lasting treatments of chronic pancreatitis is most likely to appear on the wings of carefully conducted studies targeting genetic and molecular mechanisms of chronic pancreatitis, particularly pancreatic fibrogenesis.