Objectives: To estimate the risk of malignancy in autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP).
Methods: We examined resected pancreata to compare the prevalence of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) in 28 cases of AIP and 30 cases of chronic pancreatitis not otherwise specified (CP-NOS). We also reviewed a cohort of 84 AIP cases.
Results: The mean age of the AIP cohort (57 years) was significantly higher than that of the cohort of CP-NOS (47 years) (P = 0.01). Twenty-three cases (82%) of AIP showed PanIN, and 7 cases (25%) showed grade 2 PanIN. Grade 3 PanIN was identified in one case of AIP. There was no statistically significant difference in the number of cases with high-grade PanIN lesions between the cases of type 1 as opposed to type 2 AIP. In comparison to CP-NOS, a comparable percentage of patients with AIP had PanIN (82% of AIP cases vs 63% of CP-NOS cases) (P = NS) and PanIN 2 (25% AIP vs 20% CP-NOS) (P = NS). Of the 84 AIP cases at our institution (mean follow-up, 49 months), 2 cases of pancreatic carcinoma were identified 6 and 10 years after the diagnoses of AIP.
Conclusions: These findings raise concern that AIP is associated with an elevated risk of malignancy and should prompt additional studies.