Background and aims: The accurate differential diagnosis between autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is clinically important. We aimed to determine significant MRI features for differentiating AIP from PDAC, including assessment of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI).
Methods: We performed a systematic search using three databases. The pooled diagnostic odds ratio was calculated using a bivariate random effects model to determine significant MRI features for differentiating AIP from PDAC. The pooled sensitivity and specificity were calculated. The qualitative systematic review for DWI assessment was performed.
Results: Of nine studies (775 patients), multiple main pancreatic duct (MPD) strictures, absence of upstream marked MPD dilatation, peripancreatic rim, and duct penetration sign were significant MRI features for differentiating AIP from PDAC. Absence of MPD dilatation had the highest pooled sensitivity (87%, 95% CI=68-96%), whereas peripancreatic rim had the highest pooled specificity (100%, 95% CI=88-100%). Of 12 studies evaluating DWI, seven reported statistically significant differences in apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values between AIP and PDAC; however, four reported lower ADC values in AIP than in PDAC, but three reported the opposite result.
Conclusion: The four significant MRI features can be useful to differentiate AIP from PDAC, but DWI assessment might be limited.