Background and aims: Steroid therapy is the first-line treatment for autoimmune pancreatitis but relapses are frequent. The aims were to assess the efficacy and the safety of immunomodulator treatments for relapsing autoimmune pancreatitis and rituximab in particular and to identify relapsing risk factors.
Methods: Patients followed for autoimmune pancreatitis from 2000 to 2016 were included. Data were retrospectively analysed regarding autoimmune pancreatitis treatment.
Results: In total, 162 patients with autoimmune pancreatitis type 1 (n = 92) and type 2 (n = 70) were included (median follow-up: 3 years (0.5-14). Relapse occurred in 46.5% of patients with autoimmune pancreatitis type 1 (vs 19.3% in autoimmune pancreatitis 2; p < 0.001). Risk factors of relapse were cholangitis, initial use of steroids, other organ involvement and chronic pancreatitis in autoimmune pancreatitis type 1 and initial use of steroids, tobacco consumption and chronic pancreatitis for autoimmune pancreatitis type 2. Overall, 21 patients were treated with immunomodulators (azathioprine, n = 19, or methotrexate, n = 2) for relapses. The efficiency rate was 67%. A total of 17 patients were treated with rituximab, with two perfusions at 15 days apart. The efficacy was 94% (16/17), significantly better than immunomodulator drugs (p = 0.03), with a median follow-up of 20 months (11-44). Only two patients needed two supplementary perfusions.
Conclusion: In relapsing autoimmune pancreatitis, rituximab is more efficient than immunomodulator drugs and shows better tolerance.
Keywords: Autoimmune pancreatitis; IgG4 related disease; azathioprine; cholangitis; rituximab.
© Author(s) 2019.
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