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Comparison of the long-term outcomes between proximal and distal IgG4-related sclerosing cholangitis: A multicenter cohort study.

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Immunoglobulin G4-related sclerosing cholangitis (IgG4-SC) is considered a biliary manifestation of IgG4-related diseases. However, there has been a controversy on the clinical outcomes according to the location of the involved bile duct. We therefore compared the clinical outcomes and long-term prognosis of IgG4-SC with proximal bile duct involvement (proximal IgG4-SC) and IgG4-SC with distal bile duct involvement (distal IgG4-SC).

METHODS: We reviewed the data of patients with IgG4-SC that were prospectively collected at 10 tertiary centers between March 2002 and October 2020. Clinical manifestations, outcomes, association with autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP), steroid-responsiveness, and relapse of IgG4-SC were evaluated.

RESULTS: A total of 148 patients (proximal IgG4-SC, n = 59; distal IgG4-SC, n = 89) were analyzed. The median age was 65 years (IQR, 56.25-71), and 86% were male. The two groups were similar in terms of jaundice at initial presentation (51% vs 65%; P = 0.082) and presence of elevated serum IgG4 (66% vs 70%; P = 0.649). The two groups showed significant differences in terms of steroid-responsiveness (91% vs 100%; P = 0.008), association with AIP (75% vs 99%; P = 0.001), and occurrence of liver cirrhosis (9% vs 1%; P = 0.034). During a median follow-up of 64 months (IQR, 21.9-84.7), the cumulative relapse-free survival was significantly different between the two groups (67% vs 79% at 5 years; P = 0.035).

CONCLUSIONS: Relapse of IgG4-SC frequently occurred during follow-up. Proximal IgG4-SC and distal IgG4-SC had different long-term outcomes in terms of steroid-responsiveness, occurrence of liver cirrhosis, and recurrence. It may be advantageous to determine the therapeutic and follow-up strategies according to the location of bile duct involvement.

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