Immunoglobulin G4(+) B-cell receptor clones distinguish immunoglobulin G 4-related disease from primary sclerosing cholangitis and biliary/pancreatic malignancies

Hepatology. 2016 Aug;64(2):501-7. doi: 10.1002/hep.28568. Epub 2016 Jun 8.


Immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)-related disease (IgG4-RD) of the biliary tree and pancreas is difficult to distinguish from sclerosing cholangitis and biliary/pancreatic malignancies (CA). An accurate noninvasive test for diagnosis and monitoring of disease activity is lacking. We demonstrate that dominant IgG4(+) B-cell receptor (BCR) clones determined by next-generation sequencing accurately distinguish patients with IgG4-associated cholangitis/autoimmune pancreatitis (n = 34) from those with primary sclerosing cholangitis (n = 17) and CA (n = 17). A novel, more affordable, and widely applicable quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) protocol analyzing the IgG4/IgG RNA ratio in blood also achieves excellent diagnostic accuracy (n = 125). Moreover, this qPCR test performed better than serum IgG4 levels in sensitivity (94% vs. 86%) and specificity (99% vs. 73%) and correlates with treatment response (n = 20).

Conclusions: IgG4(+) BCR clones and IgG4/IgG RNA ratio markedly improve delineation, early diagnosis, and monitoring of IgG4-RD of the biliary tree and pancreas. (Hepatology 2016;64:501-507).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bile Duct Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bile Duct Diseases / immunology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies


  • Immunoglobulin G