“Biliary Diseases with Pancreatic Counterparts”: Cross-sectional Imaging Findings. RadioGraphics 2016; 36:374–392.
On the basis of the similarities in the histopathologic findings and the clinical-biologic behaviors of select biliary and pancreatic conditions, a new disease concept, “biliary diseases with pancreatic counterparts,” has been proposed. Both nonneoplastic and neoplastic pathologic conditions of the biliary tract have their counterparts in the pancreas. Immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)–related sclerosing cholangitis is the biliary manifestation of IgG4-related sclerosing disease, and type 1 autoimmune pancreatitis is its pancreatic counterpart. People with chronic alcoholism can develop peribiliary cysts and fibrosis as well as pancreatic fibrosis and chronic pancreatitis simultaneously. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm, and mucinous cystic neoplasm are considered pancreatic counterparts for the biliary neoplasms of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, intraductal papillary neoplasm of the biliary tract, and hepatic mucinous cystic neoplasm, respectively. The anatomic proximity of the biliary tract and the pancreas, the nearly simultaneous development of both organs from the endoderm of the foregut, and the presence of pancreatic exocrine acini within the peribiliary glands surrounding the extrahepatic bile ducts are suggested as causative factors for these similarities. Interestingly, these diseases show “nearly” identical findings at cross-sectional imaging, an observation that further supports this new disease concept. New information obtained with regard to biliary diseases can be used for evaluation of pancreatic abnormalities, and vice versa. In addition, combined genetic and molecular studies may be performed to develop novel therapeutic targets. For both biliary and pancreatic diseases, imaging plays a pivotal role in initial diagnosis, evaluation of treatment response, efficacy testing of novel drugs, and long-term surveillance.
Select biliary and pancreatic conditions demonstrate similarities in the gross pathologic,
histopathologic, and clinical features. Many of these pathologic conditions demonstrate similar findings at cross-sectional imaging, findings that support the concept of biliary diseases with pancreatic counterparts; however, further research is warranted to establish this hypothesis. Knowledge of this unified concept may assist in understanding the pathogenesis of pancreaticobiliary diseases and in the development of novel therapeutic agents. Imaging plays a critical role in the further confirmation of this unique
disease concept and in testing the efficacy of new drugs.