Liver transplantation for cholestatic liver disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


  • James Neuberger

Colleges, School and Institutes


Liver transplantation is an effective form of therapy for patients with end-stage cholestatic disease that improves both survival and quality of life. Liver transplantation is very effective for the treatment of intractable pruritus but less effective for the treatment of lethargy. Survival rates are good (more than 70% at 5 years); these patients are at greater risk of developing acute and chronic rejection and are more likely to require long-term immunosuppression. Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) recur in the graft. Recurrent PSC may be difficult to differentiate from secondary sclerosing cholangitis, but it recurs in up to 60% of patients at 5 years and may reduce graft survival. PBC recurrence, noted in up to 40% of patients at 10 years, has little effect on graft survival with respect to cancers. Patients with PSC are at greater risk of both colonic cancer (which may be reduced by ursodeoxycholic acid) and cholangiocarcinoma. Diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma before transplantation usually contraindicates transplantation. The main challenges facing liver transplantation are the need to expand the donor pool and the need to find immunosuppressive regimens with fewer long-term toxicities.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Gastroenterology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003

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