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Sclerosing Cholangitis Related to IgG4: Not Always a Curable Entity

Fernando Martínez-Valle, Mar Riveiro-Barciela, Maria-Teresa Salcedo, Xavier Merino-Casabiel, Andreu Fernandez-Codina, Ines de Torres, Rafael Esteban, Maria Buti


IgG4-related disease is a recently-described fibro-inflammatory condition with characteristic histopathological findings in the organs involved. The most commonly affected organs are pancreas, lymph nodes, and retroperitoneum. Liver disease usually involves bile structures and therefore IgG4-related disease is considered a cause of secondary sclerosing cholangitis. One out of three patients with IgG4 sclerosing cholangitis also presents autoimmune pancreatitis, although it can be associated with manifestations in other organs. One of the main features of IgG4-related disease is its good prognosis due to the great response to glucocorticoid therapy. However, relapse of the disease is not uncommon, especially when steroid therapy is decreased or stopped. Rituximab seems to be an effective treatment to achieve remission of the disease. We report the case of a 74 year-old man diagnosed with IgG4-related disease based on increase of serum IgG4 levels, imaging and histopathological findings, with systemic involvement including sclerosing cholangitis. Despite the absence of liver fibrosis at onset, the early use of glucocorticoids and rituximab therapy, the patient presented clinical and analytical deterioration, leading to secondary biliary cirrhosis. In conclusion, this clinical case highlights the importance of prompt diagnosis and therapeutics for sclerosing cholangitis secondary to IgG4-related disease in order to avoid progression of the disease and development of liver cirrhosis, as well as the refractory, aggressive nature of the disease in some cases as this one.

Key words. IgG4-related disease, Secondary cholangitis, Liver cirrhosis, Rituximab, Case report

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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