Risk of cancer in patients with autoimmune pancreatitis

Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Apr;108(4):610-7. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2012.465. Epub 2013 Jan 15.


Objectives: Although simultaneous occurrences of autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) and cancer are occasionally observed, it remains largely unknown whether cancer and AIP occur independently or these disorders are interrelated. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between AIP and cancer.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter, retrospective cohort study. One hundred and eight patients who met the Asian diagnostic criteria for AIP were included in the study. We calculated the proportion, standardized incidence ratio (SIR), relative risk, and time course of cancer development in patients with AIP. We also analyzed the clinicopathological characteristics of AIP patients with cancer in comparison with those without cancer.

Results: Of the 108 AIP patients, 18 cancers were found in 15 patients (13.9%) during the median follow-up period of 3.3 years. The SIR of cancer was 2.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4-3.9), which was stratified into the first year (6.1 (95% CI 2.3-9.9)) and subsequent years (1.5 (95% CI 0.3-2.8)) after AIP diagnosis. Relative risk of cancer among AIP patients at the time of AIP diagnosis was 4.9 (95% CI 1.7-14.9). In six of eight patients whose cancer lesions could be assessed before corticosteroid therapy for AIP, abundant IgG4-positive plasma cell infiltration was observed in the cancer stroma. These six patients experienced no AIP relapse after successful cancer treatment.

Conclusions: Patients with AIP are at high risk of having various cancers. The highest risk for cancer in the first year after AIP diagnosis and absence of AIP relapse after successful treatment of the coexisting cancers suggest that AIP may develop as a paraneoplastic syndrome in some patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pancreatitis / complications*
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis / immunology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / etiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Immunoglobulin G