Geoepidemiology and changing mortality in primary biliary cholangitis

Annarosa Floreani, Atsushi Tanaka, Christopher Bowlus, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), formerly called primary biliary cirrhosis, is a chronic cholestatic disease characterized by an autoimmune-mediated destruction of small and medium-sized intrahepatic bile ducts. Originally PBC was considered to be rare and almost invariably fatal, mainly because the diagnosis was made in patients presenting with advanced symptomatic disease (jaundice and decompensated cirrhosis). However, the development of a reproducible indirect immunofluorescence assay for antimitochondrial antibody made it possible to diagnose the disease at an earlier stage, and introduction of ursodeoxycholic acid therapy as the first-line therapy for PBC drastically changed PBC-related mortality. At present, patients with an early histological stage have survival rates similar to those of an age- and sex-matched control population. Although 30% of patients treated with ursodeoxycholic acid may exhibit incomplete responses, obeticholic acid and drugs currently in development are expected to be effective for these patients and improve outcomes. Meanwhile, more etiology and immunopathology studies using new technologies and novel animal models are needed to dissect variances of clinical course, treatment response, and outcome in each patient with PBC. Precision medicine that is individualized for each patient on the basis of the cause identified is eagerly awaited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 1 2017


  • Cirrhosis
  • Etiology
  • Obeticholic acid
  • Precision medicine
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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