Poor response of initial steroid therapy for IgG4-related sclerosing cholangitis with multiple organs affected

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IgG4-related sclerosing cholangitis (IgG4-SC) is a rare biliary manifestation in which many other organs might be affected. The purpose of our study was to investigate the different clinical characteristics and initial steroid response between IgG4-SC patients with and without other organs affected.

A series of patients with IgG4-SC in the period from January 2006 to December 2015 at our hospital were included. The pancreas and major salivary glands were screened, and the initial corticosteroid therapy was given. Clinical information was collected and analyzed including demographics, clinical presentation, IgG4 serology, imaging features, and treatment outcomes.

The study identified 72 IgG4-SC patients, including 60 males and 12 females. The mean age was 59.8 years old. Among these IgG4-SC patients, 10 patients had only bile duct involved, 42 patients had 2 organs involved and 20 patients had multiple organs involved. In patients with multiple organs involved, more complaints were given (mean 2.9 kinds), higher serum IgG4 levels were found (23458 ± 19402.7 mg/L), and more stricture lesions of biliary tract were shown. All 72 patients exhibited a disease response within 4 to 6 weeks of starting steroids. The remission rate in the multiple lesions group was lower (60%), and the recurrence rate is higher (83.3%). The relapse-free survival was 20.0 months in the single lesion group, which is longer than that in the multiple lesions group (3.1 months, P < 0.05).

The IgG4-SC patients with multiple organs affected had more complaints, higher serum IgG4 levels, and poor response to initial steroids.

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