The UK-PBC risk scores: Derivation and validation of a scoring system for long-term prediction of end-stage liver disease in primary biliary cholangitis.
ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:The biochemical response to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA)--so-called "treatment response"--strongly predicts long-term outcome in primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). Several long-term prognostic models based solely on the treatment response have been developed that are widely used to risk stratify PBC patients and guide their management. However, they do not take other prognostic variables into account, such as the stage of the liver disease. We sought to improve existing long-term prognostic models of PBC using data from the UK-PBC Research Cohort. We performed Cox's proportional hazards regression analysis of diverse explanatory variables in a derivation cohort of 1,916 UDCA-treated participants. We used nonautomatic backward selection to derive the best-fitting Cox model, from which we derived a multivariable fractional polynomial model. We combined linear predictors and baseline survivor functions in equations to score the risk of a liver transplant or liver-related death occurring within 5, 10, or 15 years. We validated these risk scores in an independent cohort of 1,249 UDCA-treated participants. The best-fitting model consisted of the baseline albumin and platelet count, as well as the bilirubin, transaminases, and alkaline phosphatase, after 12 months of UDCA. In the validation cohort, the 5-, 10-, and 15-year risk scores were highly accurate (areas under the curve: >0.90). CONCLUSIONS:The prognosis of PBC patients can be accurately evaluated using the UK-PBC risk scores. They may be used to identify high-risk patients for closer monitoring and second-line therapies, as well as low-risk patients who could potentially be followed up in primary care.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Liver transplantation improves survival in end-stage primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), but the benefit for systemic symptoms including fatigue is less clear. The aim of this study was to utilise the comprehensive UK-PBC Research Cohort, including 380 post-transplant patients and 2300 non-transplanted patients, to answer key questions regarding transplantation for PBC. METHODS:Cross-sectional study of post-transplant PBC patients and case-matched non-transplanted patients. Detailed clinical information was collected, together with patient systemic symptom impact data using validated assessment tools. RESULTS:Over 25% of patients in the transplant cohort were grafted within 2 years of PBC diagnosis suggesting advanced disease at presentation. Transplanted patients were significantly younger at presentation than non-transplanted (mean 7 years) and >35% of all patients in the UK-PBC cohort who presented under 50 years had already undergone liver transplantation at the study censor point (>50% were treatment failures (post-transplant or unresponsive to UDCA)). Systemic symptom severity (fatigue and cognitive symptoms) was identical in female post-transplant patients and matched non-transplanted controls and unrelated to disease recurrence or immunosuppression type. In males, symptoms were worse in transplanted than in non-transplanted patients. CONCLUSIONS:Age at presentation is a major risk factor for progression to transplant (as well as UDCA non-response) in PBC. Although both confirmatory longitudinal studies, and studies utilising objective as well as subjective measures of function, are needed if we are to address the question definitively, we found no evidence of improved systemic symptoms after liver transplantation in PBC and patients should be advised accordingly. Consideration needs to be given to enhancing rehabilitation approaches to improve function and life quality after liver transplant for PBC.
Project description:Primary biliary cholangitis (formerly known as primary biliary cirrhosis, PBC) is an autoimmune liver disease in which a cycle of immune mediated biliary epithelial cell injury, cholestasis and progressive fibrosis can culminate over time in an end-stage biliary cirrhosis. Both genetic and environmental influences are presumed relevant to disease initiation. PBC is most prevalent in women and those over the age of 50, but a spectrum of disease is recognised in adult patients globally; male sex, younger age at onset (<45) and advanced disease at presentation are baseline predictors of poorer outcome. As the disease is increasingly diagnosed through the combination of cholestatic serum liver tests and the presence of antimitochondrial antibodies, most presenting patients are not cirrhotic and the term cholangitis is more accurate. Disease course is frequently accompanied by symptoms that can be burdensome for patients, and management of patients with PBC must address, in a life-long manner, both disease progression and symptom burden. Licensed therapies include ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and obeticholic acid (OCA), alongside experimental new and re-purposed agents. Disease management focuses on initiation of UDCA for all patients and risk stratification based on baseline and on-treatment factors, including in particular the response to treatment. Those intolerant of treatment with UDCA or those with high-risk disease as evidenced by UDCA treatment failure (frequently reflected in trial and clinical practice as an alkaline phosphatase >1.67?× upper limit of normal and/or elevated bilirubin) should be considered for second-line therapy, of which OCA is the only currently licensed National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended agent. Follow-up of patients is life-long and must address treatment of the disease and management of associated symptoms.
Project description:Aim:Patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) have at least 60% probability of having an autoimmune extrahepatic condition, with the most common being Sjögren's syndrome (SS). The impacts of SS on the response and outcomes in ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA)-treated patients with PBC, however, remain unclear. The aim of this study was to document the biochemical responses and clinical outcomes of UDCA-treated patients with concomitant SS and to compare the findings to those of patients with PBC alone. Methods:Data from consecutive patients with PBC who visited West China Hospital affiliated with Sichuan University between October 2013 and October 2017 were reviewed retrospectively. Results:The study populations consisted of 226 patients with PBC alone and 56 with PBC/SS. The median ages, proportions of female patients, Fib-4 scores, and aspartate aminotransferase (AST)/platelet ratio index (APRI) at baseline in the two cohorts were similar. At presentation, patients with PBC/SS had higher serum IgG levels and positive rates for serum antinuclear antibody (ANA) than patients with PBC alone (all P < 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference between the rate of biochemical response to UDCA at 1 year in the PBC/SS and PBC alone groups. The UK-PBC risk scores and GLOBE scores in UDCA-treated patients in the two cohorts were also similar. During the follow-up period, the differences in the liver enzyme levels, Fib-4 scores, APRI, and incidence of liver-related adverse events were not significant. Conclusions:The results of this retrospective, single-center study suggest that the response and clinical outcomes of UDCA-treated patients with PBC are not adversely affected by concomitant SS.
Project description:Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is an autoimmune inflammatory liver disease of the interlobular bile ducts that can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. Until recently, the only effective treatment was ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). However, up to 40% of PBC patients have an inadequate response to UDCA and may continue to have disease progression. Several models have been developed, including the UK-PBC and GLOBE scores, to assist in identifying patients who may benefit from second-line therapies, such as the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonist obeticholic acid (OCA). The addition of OCA can significantly improve serum alkaline phosphatase and total bilirubin, which are strong surrogate markers of clinical outcomes in PBC. Other alternatives, including the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-? agonists fenofibrate and bezafibrate, may also improve liver biochemistries in PBC patients with an inadequate response to UDCA, but further study is needed to demonstrate their safety and long-term efficacy. Other novel agents, including those targeting the FXR pathway and PPAR-? agonists, have shown promising results and may alter the therapeutic landscape of PBC in the near future. For now, OCA remains the only approved second-line agent for PBC patients with an inadequate response to UDCA while results of long-term studies of its safety and clinical benefit are awaited.
Project description:Primary biliary cholangitis is an uncommon cholestatic liver disease predominantly affecting middle-aged women. Left untreated, there is a high risk of progression to end-stage liver disease. Few treatment options exist. To date, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and obeticholic acid (OCA) are the only medical therapies approved for use, other than symptomatic treatments and liver transplantation, the latter of which is reserved for those developing complications of cirrhosis or with intractable pruritus. UDCA improves outcomes, but many patients do not adequately respond. OCA therapy may improve response, but long-term data are limited. New therapies are desperately needed, but evaluation has been limited by the fact that the disease is heterogeneous, hard end points take years to develop, and there are different criteria in use for determining therapeutic response based on surrogate biomarkers. Fibrates appear to be the most promising new therapy and have beneficially affected surrogate end points and are beginning to show improvement in clinical end points.
Project description:The albumin-bilirubin (ALBI) score is calculated using only serum albumin and bilirubin levels, and was developed as a simple method to assess hepatic function. In this study, a total of 409 patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) were enrolled between March 1990 and October 2018. The predictive performances of the ALBI score and other well-established prognostic scores were compared using time-dependent receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. During the follow-up period, 60 patients died, 45 due to liver-related diseases and 15 due to non-liver-related diseases, and 16 patients underwent liver transplantation. Time-dependent ROC analysis showed that the ALBI score has higher the areas under the ROC curves (AUROCs) than the Child-Pugh (C-P) score at each time point; AUROCs at 3, 5, and 10 years after the start of follow-up were 0.94, 0.91, and 0.90 for the ALBI score, and 0.89, 0.88, and 0.82 for the C-P score, respectively. The ALBI score showed the highest AUROCs within 2 years after the start of observation; beyond 2 years, however, the Mayo score had better prognostic ability for mortality and liver transplantation. The ALBI score/grade, derived from objective blood tests, and the Mayo score were superior prognostic tools in PBC patients.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Treatment guidelines recommend a stepwise approach to primary biliary cholangitis: all patients begin treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) monotherapy and those with an inadequate biochemical response after 12 months are subsequently considered for second-line therapies. However, as a result, patients at the highest risk can wait the longest for effective treatment. We determined whether UDCA response can be accurately predicted using pretreatment clinical parameters. METHODS:We did logistic regression analysis of pretreatment variables in a discovery cohort of patients in the UK with primary biliary cholangitis to derive the best-fitting model of UDCA response, defined as alkaline phosphatase less than 1·67 times the upper limit of normal (ULN), measured after 12 months of treatment with UDCA. We validated the model in an external cohort of patients with primary biliary cholangitis and treated with UDCA in Italy. Additionally, we assessed correlations between model predictions and key histological features, such as biliary injury and fibrosis, on liver biopsy samples. FINDINGS:2703 participants diagnosed with primary biliary cholangitis between Jan 1, 1998, and May 31, 2015, were included in the UK-PBC cohort for derivation of the model. The following pretreatment parameters were associated with lower probability of UDCA response: higher alkaline phosphatase concentration (p<0·0001), higher total bilirubin concentration (p=0·0003), lower aminotransferase concentration (p=0·0012), younger age (p<0·0001), longer interval from diagnosis to the start of UDCA treatment (treatment time lag, p<0·0001), and worsening of alkaline phosphatase concentration from diagnosis (p<0·0001). Based on these variables, we derived a predictive score of UDCA response. In the external validation cohort, 460 patients diagnosed with primary biliary cholangitis were treated with UDCA, with follow-up data until May 31, 2016. In this validation cohort, the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the score was 0·83 (95% CI 0·79-0·87). In 20 liver biopsy samples from patients with primary biliary cholangitis, the UDCA response score was associated with ductular reaction (r=-0·556, p=0·0130) and intermediate hepatocytes (probability of response was 0·90 if intermediate hepatocytes were absent vs 0·51 if present). INTERPRETATION:We have derived and externally validated a model based on pretreatment variables that accurately predicts UDCA response. Association with histological features provides face validity. This model provides a basis to explore alternative approaches to treatment stratification in patients with primary biliary cholangitis. FUNDING:UK Medical Research Council and University of Milan-Bicocca.
Project description:Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a cholestatic disease associated with autoimmune phenomena and alterations in both biliary bicarbonate excretion and expression of the bicarbonate carrier AE2. The bile acid ursodeoxycholic acid (UCDA) is currently used in treatment of cholestatic liver diseases and is the treatment of choice in PBC; however, a subset of PBC patients respond poorly to UDCA monotherapy. In these patients, a combination of UDCA and glucocorticoid therapy appears to be beneficial. To address the mechanism of this benefit, we analyzed the effects of UDCA and dexamethasone on AE2 gene expression in human liver cells from hepatocyte and cholangiocyte lineages. The combination of UDCA and dexamethasone, but not UDCA or dexamethasone alone, increased the expression of liver-enriched alternative mRNA isoforms AE2b1 and AE2b2 and enhanced AE2 activity. Similar effects were obtained after replacing UDCA with UDCA conjugates. In in vitro and in vivo reporter assays, we found that a UDCA/dexamethasone combination upregulated human AE2 alternate overlapping promoter sequences from which AE2b1 and AE2b2 are expressed. In chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we demonstrated that combination UCDA/dexamethasone treatment induced p300-related interactions between HNF1 and glucocorticoid receptor on the AE2 alternate promoter. Our data provide a potential molecular explanation for the beneficial effects of the combination of UDCA and glucocorticoids in PBC patients with inadequate response to UDCA monotherapy.
Project description:Using outcome after long term follow-up to define risk at disease presentation high risk (n=9 who went on to require liver transplantation) and low risk (n=7 who responded fully to UDCA) patients were identified and their first liver biopsies retrieved. RNA was successfully extracted and analysed using nanostring® transcriptomics. Patients with progressive disease appear to have a distinct molecular signature. high risk (n=9 who went on to require liver transplantation) and low risk (n=7 who responded fully to UDCA) patient material was processed along with non-diseased control liver (n=8)
Project description:BACKGROUND: Fatigue is a frequent and debilitating symptom in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). AIMS: To study fatigue in relation to sleep, depression, and liver disease severity. METHODS: Patients with PBC completed validated self report questionnaires measuring fatigue, sleep quality, depression, and functional capacity. Verbally reported fatigue and observer rated measure of depression and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) use were recorded. Liver biochemistry and tests to rule out metabolic causes of fatigue were performed. RESULTS: Mean age of the 88 patients enrolled was 57 years; 86% were female and mean duration of disease was 6.6 years. Median bilirubin was 13 micromol/l (mean 18.6). Verbally reported fatigue (for more than six months) was present in 60 patients (68%). The self rated Fatigue Severity Score (FSS) correlated well with verbally reported fatigue (p=0.0001). The FSS did not correlate with age, duration of disease, serum bilirubin, Mayo Risk Score, or UDCA use, but correlation was seen with sleep quality. Fatigued patients had more sleep problems and higher depression scores than non-fatigued patients. Self rated depression was present in 28% (17/60) of fatigued compared with 4% (1/28) of non-fatigued patients. CONCLUSIONS: Long term fatigue affected 68% of the patients with PBC but it was not related to the severity of their liver disease. Poor sleep quality and depression were commonly associated with fatigue.