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Gut. 2006 Mar;55(3):388-94. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Clinical features and prognosis of primary biliary cirrhosis associated with systemic sclerosis.

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  • 1Liver Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, Pond St, Hampstead, London NW3 2QG, UK.



To evaluate the prognosis of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) together with systemic sclerosis (SSc), as this is unknown.


A PBC database of 580 patients identified 43 with PBC and SSc: two patients with PBC alone were matched to each PBC-SSc patient for serum bilirubin concentration at the initial visit. Forty (93%) patients had limited cutaneous SSc. At diagnosis of PBC, median values were: 49.7 years, bilirubin 17 micromol/l, and albumin 40.5 g/l. Liver diagnosis occurred a median 4.9 years after SSc in 24 (56%) patients. In matched patients, median values at diagnosis were: 53.2 years, bilirubin 12 micromol/l, and albumin 41 g/l. Median follow up was similar: 3.16 years (PBC-SSc) and 4.8 years (PBC alone). The risk of transplantation or death from diagnosis, adjusting for sex, age, log bilirubin, and alkaline phosphatase was significantly lower in PBC-SSc (hazard ratio 0.116, p=0.01) due to less transplantation (hazard ratio 0.068, p=0.006). The rate of bilirubin increase was less in PBC-SSc (p=0.04). Overall survival was similar (hazard ratio 1.11, p=0.948); there were nine deaths (21%) in PBC-SSc (six SSc related and two liver related) and nine (11%) in PBC alone (six liver related).


Liver disease has a slower progression in PBC-SSc compared with matched patients with PBC alone.

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