Long-term survival and impact of ursodeoxycholic acid treatment for recurrent primary biliary cirrhosis after liver transplantation

Phunchai Charatcharoenwitthaya, Sylvania Pimentel, Jayant A. Talwalkar, Felicity T. Enders, Keith D. Lindor, Ruud A.F. Krom, Russell H. Wiesner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


The recurrence of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) in the hepatic allograft may impact patient and graft survival with long-term follow-up. The efficacy of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) for treatment of recurrent PBC after liver transplantation (LT) remains less well known. The aims of this study were as follows: 1) to determine the significance of recurrent PBC on overall survival among PBC patients who underwent LT, and 2) to determine the efficacy of UDCA treatment after LT in patients with recurrent PBC. A retrospective cohort study was conducted of 154 PBC patients who underwent LT with at least 1 yr of follow-up after transplantation from 1985 through 2005. A total of 52 patients with recurrent PBC were identified. After adjusting for age and gender, recurrent PBC was not associated with death or liver retransplantation (hazard ratio, 0.97, 95% confidence interval, 0.41-2.31; P = 0.9). A total of 38 patients with recurrent PBC received UDCA at an average dose of 12 mg/kg/day for a mean duration of 55 months. Over a 36-month period, an estimated 52% of UDCA-treated patients experienced normalization of serum alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase compared to 22% of untreated patients. There was no significant difference in the rate of histological progression between subgroups. UDCA did not influence patient and graft survival. In conclusion, the development of recurrent PBC has little impact on long-term survival or need for retransplantation. While UDCA therapy is associated with biochemical improvement, its role in delaying histologic progression remains unknown. In this short period of treatment, UDCA was not associated with improved patient and graft survival compared to untreated patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1236-1245
Number of pages10
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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