Background: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) are reported to have the best outcomes after liver transplantation. Based on excellent 5-yr survival results after transplantation, it has been suggested that PSC patients may benefit from "preemptive" transplantation to reduce the risk of cholangiocarcinoma. In this study, we compared 10-yr survival of patients with PSC and PBC using a large database after adjusting for other confounding risk factors.
Methods: The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database of all patients who had liver transplantation from 1987 to 2001 was used for analysis after excluding patients with multiple organ transplantation, children, and incomplete data.
Results: Patients with PSC (n = 3,309) were younger than those with PBC (n = 3,254). Retransplantation rate was high in PSC (12.4%vs 8.5%; p< 0.01), and PSC was an independent predictor for retransplantation on multivariate analysis. Cox regression analysis showed that PSC patients had significantly lower graft and patient survival compared to PBC patients after adjusting for other risk factors. Lower survival in PSC became apparent 7 yr after transplantation.
Conclusions: Patients with PSC had a higher retransplantation rate and lower survival when compared to PBC. Based on this analysis, we do not recommend preemptive liver transplantation for patients with PSC.