From the AGA Journals

Studies eyes risks for poor outcomes in primary sclerosing cholangitis



In individuals with inflammatory bowel disease and primary sclerosing cholangitis, younger age at diagnosis, male sex, and Afro-Caribbean heritage were significant risk factors for liver transplantation and disease-related death, based on a 10-year prospective population-based study.

These factors should be incorporated into the design of clinical trials, models for predicting disease, and studies of prognostic biomarkers for primary sclerosing cholangitis, Palak T. Trivedi, MBBS, MRCP, of the Universty of Birmingham (England) wrote with his associates in Gastroenterology.

The researchers identified newly diagnosed cases from a national health care registry in England between 2006 and 2016 (data on outcomes were collected through mid-2019). In all, 284,560 individuals had a new diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, among whom 2,588 also had primary sclerosing cholangitis. The investigators tracked deaths, liver transplantation, colonic resection, cholecystectomy, and diagnoses of colorectal cancer, cholangiosarcoma, and cancers of the pancreas, gallbladder, and liver. They evaluated rates of these outcomes among individuals with both primary sclerosing cholangitis and inflammatory bowel disease (PSC-IBD) and those with IBD only.

After controlling for sex, race, socioeconomic level, comorbidities, and older age, the researchers found that both men and women with PSC-IBD had a significantly greater risk for all-cause mortality, compared with individuals with IBD alone (hazard ratio, 3.20; 95% confidence interval, 3.01-3.40; P less than .001). Strikingly, individuals who were diagnosed with PSC when they were younger than 40 years had a more than sevenfold higher rate of all-cause mortality, compared with individuals with IBD only. In contrast, the incidence rate ratio for individuals diagnosed with PSC when they were older than 60 years was less than 1.5, compared with IBD-only individuals.

Having PSC and ulcerative colitis, being younger when diagnosed with PSC, and being of Afro-Carribean heritage all correlated with higher incidence of liver transplantation or death related to PSC. Individuals with PSC-IBD who were of Afro-Caribbean heritage had an approximately twofold greater risk for liver transplantation or PSC-related death compared with Whites (adjusted HR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.14-3.70; P = .016). In contrast, women with PSC-IBD were at significantly lower risk for liver transplantation or disease-related death than were men (adjusted HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.57-0.97; P = .026).

“The onset of PSC confers heightened risks of all hepatobiliary malignancies, although annual imaging surveillance may associate with a reduced risk of cancer-related death,” the investigators found. Among patients with hepatobiliary cancer, annual imaging was associated with a twofold decrease in risk for cancer-related death (HR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.23-0.80; P = .037).

Colorectal cancer tended to occur at a younger age among individuals with PSC-IBD, compared with those with IBD alone (median ages at diagnosis, 59 vs. 69 years; P less than .001). Notably, individuals with PSC diagnosed under age 50 years had about a fivefold higher incidence of colorectal cancer than did those with IBD alone, while those diagnosed at older ages had only about a twofold increase. With regard to colectomy, men diagnosed with PSC at younger ages were at the greatest risk, compared with women or individuals diagnosed after age 50 years. Individuals with ulcerative colitis and PSC had a 40% greater risk for colectomy risk than did IBD-only individuals (time-dependent adjusted HR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.45-1.85; P less than .001).

“Whilst all-cause mortality rates increase with age, younger patients [with PSC] show a disproportionately increased incidence of liver transplantation, PSC-related death, and colorectal cancer,” the researchers concluded. “Consideration of age at diagnosis should therefore be applied in the stratification of patients for future clinical trials, disease prediction models, and prognostic biomarker discovery.”

Dr. Trivedi disclosed support from the National Institute for Health Research Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre, at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Birmingham. No other disclosures were reported.

SOURCE: Trivedi PJ et al. Gastroenterology. 2020 May 19. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.049.

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