Finding the cure for primary biliary cholangitis – Still waiting

Atsushi Tanaka, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The introduction of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA)may well have contributed to some of the improvements in morbidity and mortality of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). Yet nearly 40% of PBC patients are unresponsive to UDCA. Further the data on UDCA is confounded by the changes in the goepidemiology and particularly the earlier diagnosis of PBC. In this regard we welcome the addition of obeticholic acid (OCA) as an alternative therapeutic option forthe treatment of PBC in those patients refractory to UDCA. However, OCA is intellectually disappointing.There is no data on OCA that reflects dynamic and critical endpoints, for example death or liver transplantation; only surrogate endpoints have been used in the clinical trials. A nested study with liver histology wouldbeanideal surrogate marker,including intensive use of immunohistochemistry to define cellular infiltrates and cytokine/chemokine activity. More importantly, the clinical characteristics of PBCmay vary among patients and progression is not always predictable. We need to identify more appropriate and specific biomarkers that predict the clinical course, and we need to know which therapies are applicable at different stages, since treatmentfor PBC should be individualized. We need to know more about the etiology of PBC,and we want a cure for PBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-502
Number of pages3
JournalLiver International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • biological therapy
  • primary biliary cholangitis
  • tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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