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UNLABELLED: Immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)-related disease (IgG4-RD) of the biliary tree and pancreas is difficult to distinguish from sclerosing cholangitis and biliary/pancreatic malignancies (CA). An accurate noninvasive test for diagnosis and monitoring of disease activity is lacking. We demonstrate that dominant IgG4(+) B-cell receptor (BCR) clones determined by next-generation sequencing accurately distinguish patients with IgG4-associated cholangitis/autoimmune pancreatitis (n = 34) from those with primary sclerosing cholangitis (n = 17) and CA (n = 17). A novel, more affordable, and widely applicable quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) protocol analyzing the IgG4/IgG RNA ratio in blood also achieves excellent diagnostic accuracy (n = 125). Moreover, this qPCR test performed better than serum IgG4 levels in sensitivity (94% vs. 86%) and specificity (99% vs. 73%) and correlates with treatment response (n = 20). CONCLUSIONS: IgG4(+) BCR clones and IgG4/IgG RNA ratio markedly improve delineation, early diagnosis, and monitoring of IgG4-RD of the biliary tree and pancreas. (Hepatology 2016;64:501-507).

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





501 - 507


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Bile Duct Diseases, Case-Control Studies, Diagnosis, Differential, Female, Humans, Immunoglobulin G, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies