OBJECTIVE Several studies have reported an increased frequency of cystic fibrosis gene mutations in idiopathic but not in alcoholic chronic pancreatitis. The impact of cystic fibrosis gene mutations on the long-term course of chronic pancreatitis has not been analyzed. The aim of our study was to determine the frequency of cystic fibrosis gene mutations in patients with chronic pancreatitis with long-term follow-up and to see whether patients with mutations have a clinically different natural course compared to those without mutations. METHODS Eighty two patients with chronic pancreatitis and 11 patients with recurrent acute pancreatitis of our well defined pancreatitis cohort were screened for the 31 most common cystic fibrosis gene mutations. The impact of cystic fibrosis gene mutations on the long-term course of chronic pancreatitis was assessed. RESULTS A cystic fibrosis gene mutation was detected in five of 49 patients with alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (10.2%; 2.3 times the expected frequency) and in three of 14 patients with idiopathic-juvenile chronic pancreatitis (21.4%; 4.8 times the expected frequency). No mutations were found in the remaining patients with chronic pancreatitis of rare causes, hereditary pancreatitis, and recurrent acute pancreatitis. The frequency of pancreatic calcifications was significantly higher in patients with alcoholic chronic pancreatitis without mutations. This result was not confirmed in patients with idiopathic-juvenile chronic pancreatitis. The duration of pain and the frequency of exocrine and endocrine insufficiency was comparable in both subgroups irrespective of the mutation status. CONCLUSION Our data indicate a significantly increased frequency of cystic fibrosis gene mutations both in patients with alcoholic and idiopathic-juvenile chronic pancreatitis. The natural course was similar in patients with mutations compared to those without mutations.