Lymphoplasmacytic sclerosing (autoimmune) pancreatitis

Semin Diagn Pathol. 2004 Nov;21(4):237-46. doi: 10.1053/j.semdp.2005.07.004.


Lymphoplasmacytic sclerosing pancreatitis (LPSP), also known as autoimmune pancreatitis or nonalcoholic, duct destructive chronic pancreatitis, has been increasingly recognized in the past decade as a histologically distinctive type of pancreatitis that affects middle-aged patients who lack the typical risk factors for chronic pancreatitis (alcohol abuse in particular). LPSP is sometimes associated with other autoimmune diseases or fibroinflammatory lesions, although in some patients, pancreatic and biliary involvement represent the only known disease process. Many patients present with pancreatic masses clinically and radiographically simulating pancreatic carcinoma, and associated bile duct strictures enhance the resemblance. Elevated serum IgG4 levels have been described in patients with LPSP and have been used to distinguish LPSP from pancreatic carcinoma preoperatively. Although there is some heterogeneity of pathologic findings, resected cases of LPSP typically demonstrate dense periductal lymphoplasmacytic inflammation, periductal and parenchymal fibrosis, and obliterative venulitis; neutrophilic infiltration of the ductal epithelium ("granulocytic epithelial lesions") may also occur. Large tumor-like masses of fibroinflammatory tissue ("reactive fibroinflammatory pseudotumors") may develop and extend beyond the pancreas. Following surgical resection, a few patients suffer recurrence of fibroinflammatory lesions in the pancreatobiliary tree, or they may develop other manifestations of autoimmune disease elsewhere in the body. However, the overall prognosis is excellent. Response to steroid therapy has been noted. Current studies are focusing on identifying additional preoperative diagnostic tests and on characterizing possible variants of LPSP. This review presents the defining clinical and pathologic features of LPSP and discusses the ongoing efforts to understand the pathogenesis of this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis* / pathology
  • Pancreatitis* / physiopathology
  • Pancreatitis* / therapy