Concomitant nonalcoholic fatty liver disease does not alter the activity, severity or course of primary biliary cholangitis

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Background & Aims

The impact of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) on the natural history of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) has yet to be described. The aim of this study was to document the activity, severity and progression of PBC in patients with concomitant NAFLD and compare the findings to those with PBC alone.


Disease activity was assessed by serum liver enzyme levels; severity, by Fib-4 scores and percent of patients with APRI >1.5; and progression, by changes in Fib-4 and prevalence of APRI >1.5 during follow-up.


The study populations consisted of 168 PBC alone and 68 PBC/NAFLD patients. The mean ages and gender distributions of the two cohorts were similar. At presentation, PBC alone patients had greater disease activity (higher serum ALP and GGT values, P = .003 and 0.01, respectively) and advanced disease (higher Fib-4 (P = .04) scores) than PBC/NAFLD patients. Although the prevalence of APRI >1.5 was also higher in PBC alone (11.1%) vs PBC/NAFLD (4.7%) patients, the difference was not significant (P = .16). During mean follow-up of 6.7 ± 5.5 (PBC alone) and 6.4 ± 4.4 (PBC/NAFLD) years (ranges: 0.5–21 years) annual increases in Fib-4 and prevalence of ≥ APRI 1.5 were greater in PBC alone patients but the differences did not reach statistical significance.


The results of this retrospective, single centre study suggest that the activity, severity and progression of PBC are not adversely affected by concomitant NAFLD.

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