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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Sep;10(9):1051-5.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2012.06.014. Epub 2012 Jun 23.

Diagnosis of autoimmune pancreatitis vs neoplasms in children with pancreatic mass and biliary obstruction.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.


Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a rare autoimmune disorder that resembles pancreatic neoplasia and occurs primarily in adults. Management strategies and diagnostic criteria are being revised for adult patients; there are no clear diagnostic criteria for pediatric patients. We describe 3 cases of AIP in children, on the basis of clinical and pathology records. We also performed a literature review to determine the incidence of biliary obstruction in pediatric patients with pancreatic tumors. We found that children with AIP present with a variety of symptoms, and that diagnostic and therapeutic strategies also vary. Furthermore, on the basis of the many studies published on pediatric patients with pancreatic tumors, only a small percentage of the patients have biliary obstructions. Cytologic analysis of samples collected by fine-needle aspiration cytology does not accurately identify AIP in children. However, frozen section needle core biopsy samples can be used to distinguish children with AIP from those with neoplasia. Children with pancreatic mass and biliary obstruction are more likely to have AIP than neoplasms.

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