Fibrosing pancreatitis (FP) shares clinical features with autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP), although both entities have not been definitely linked. This study aimed to assess the presence of AIP criteria in an historic FP patient cohort and investigate the clinical features, management, and long-term outcomes of pediatric FP (P-FP).
Clinical data of 14 P-FP patients from Toronto and 42 P-FP cases from a literature review were collected and compared to pediatric AIP (P-AIP). Toronto P-FP patients were recontacted to assess their current health status using a brief questionnaire.
Jaundice and abdominal pain were the symptoms at presentation in 44 of 56 (79%) and 50 of 56 (89%) P-FP patients, respectively. Common findings on cross sectional imaging were an enlarged pancreas head with narrowing of the distal common bile duct (51/54, 94%). Histopathology mainly showed gland fibrosis (39/39, 100%). Three of twelve (25%) P-FP patients had elevated IgG4 in serum. None of the patients were treated with corticosteroids, but some underwent surgical or endoscopic intervention. Toronto patients were followed for a median of 13.6 years (interquartile range: 2.9–22.8). Complications during follow-up included exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (3/14, 21%) and pancreatic gland atrophy (5/13, 38%); but none of the patients had disease relapse or developed diabetes type 3c. Five (5/14, 36%) patients developed other immune-mediated diseases over time.
Clinical features of patients with P-FP resembled those recently described in a subgroup of P-AIP presenting with jaundice. Long-term outcome of these patients is generally good, with or without invasive interventions. As some patients may develop exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and/or other immune-mediated diseases, ongoing clinical monitoring is recommended.