The possible involvement of immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) in the pathogenesis of idiopathic sclerosing lesions has been suggested. In this study, a clinicopathologic analysis was performed to reveal characteristics of retroperitoneal fibrosis relating to IgG4. The study involved 17 patients with retroperitoneal fibrosis. Immunohistochemistry revealed numerous IgG4-positive plasma cell infiltrates in 10 cases (IgG4-related), but only a few positive cells in 7 cases (non-IgG4–related). All patients with IgG4-related retroperitoneal fibrosis were male, whereas all except 1 with unrelated lesions were female. Histologically, eosinophilic infiltration (>5 cells per high-power field) and obliterative phlebitis were commonly observed in IgG4-related lesions. Serologically, serum IgG and IgG4 concentrations were significantly higher in the IgG4-related cases, with the IgG4 concentrations all over 135 mg/dL (the upper limit of the normal range). Steroid therapy was performed in 13 cases, and was effective irrespective of IgG4. Three patients had recurrence during the follow up. Five of 10 IgG4-related cases had sclerosing lesions at other sites. The only tests that reliably distinguish the 2 groups were serum IgG4 levels or IgG4/IgG ratio in the plasma cells in a tissue biopsy. The only major clinical difference was the striking male predominance in IgG4-related cases. In conclusion, this study revealed that retroperitoneal fibrosis could be classified as IgG4-related or not. This distinction seems important to help better characterize the biology/pathogenesis of both groups and better predict the possibility of other IgG4-related processes at other anatomic sites.