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World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jun 21;16(23):2889-94.

Colchicine reduces procollagen III and increases pseudocholinesterase in chronic liver disease.

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  • 1Centre for Metabolic Diseases and Atherosclerosis, The Metabolic Diseases and their Complications Association, Viale Trento 27/A, 09123 Cagliari, Italy. sergiomuntoni@hotmail.com



To test whether colchicine would be an effective antifibrotic agent for treatment of chronic liver diseases in patients who could not be treated with alpha-interferon.


Seventy-four patients (46 males, 28 females) aged 40-66 years (mean 53 +/- 13 years) participated in the study. The patients were affected by chronic liver diseases with cirrhosis which was proven histologically (n = 58); by chronic active hepatitis C (n = 4), chronic active hepatitis B (n = 2), and chronic persistent hepatitis C (n = 6). In the four patients lacking histology, cirrhosis was diagnosed from anamnesis, serum laboratory tests, esophageal varices and ascites. Patients were assigned to colchicine (1 mg/d) or standard treatment as control in a randomized, double-blind trial, and followed for 4.4 years with clinical and laboratory evaluation.


Survival at the end of the study was 94.6% in the colchicine group and 78.4% in the control group (P = 0.001). Serum N-terminal peptide of type III procollagen levels fell from 34.0 to 18.3 ng/mL (P = 0.0001), and pseudocholinesterase levels rose from 4.900 to 5.610 mU/mL (P = 0.0001) in the colchicine group, while no significant change was seen in controls. Best results were obtained in patients with chronic hepatitis C and in alcoholic cirrhotics.


Colchicine is an effective and safe antifibrotic drug for long-term treatment of chronic liver disease in which fibrosis progresses towards cirrhosis.

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