Background: Over the past years, eosinophil infiltration involving the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas leading to eosinophilic pancreatitis, eosinophilic gastroenteritis and hypereosinophilic syndrome, has been reported in the literature.
We aimed to analyze and compare the features involving patients with eosinophilic pancreatitis and pancreatitis associated with eosinophilic gastroenteritis and to determine ifthere is a connection between the two disorders or if they in fact meet the diagnostic criteria for hypereosinophilic syndrome.
Material and methods: The following search was performed in March 2019 on PubMed (MEDLINE) database using the medical terms “pancreatitis”, “eosinophilic pancreatitis”, “eosinophilic gastroenteritis” and “hypereosinophilic syndrome”.
Results: The search revealed 119 publications from 1970 onwards. A total of 83 papers were excluded, and the remaining 36 publications, consisting in case reports and case series, were analyzed. From 45 patients, 20 subjects with eosinophilic gastroenteritis developed pancreatitis, 20/45 had eosinophilic pancreatitis, and 5/45 Hypereosinophilic syndrome involving the pancreas. There was no significant difference regarding clinical, laboratory and imaging features between the three groups, despite the multiple theories that explain the association of pancreatic and gastrointestinal eosinophilic infiltration. Although there was a strong resemblance between the three groups, histological evidence of eosinophilic gastrointestinal infiltration guided the treatment towards a less invasive way, while subjects with eosinophilic pancreatitis underwent pancreatic surgery to exclude potentially malignant lesions.
Conclusion: Although there are various theories that explain pancreatitis development in patients with eosinophilic gastroenteritis, hypereosinophilia diagnostic work-up should be taken into account in all patients with high number of blood eosinophils, even in those with eosinophilic pancreatitis in order to establish the diagnosis using a minimally invasive approach and to apply an adequate treatment.