Fenofibrate is effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis: A meta-analysis

Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2015 Jun;39(3):296-306. doi: 10.1016/j.clinre.2015.02.011. Epub 2015 Apr 14.


Background and aim: Fenofibrate is a potential novel therapy for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). We performed a systematic review and a meta-analysis of studies of fenofibrate in PBC.

Methods: Electronic database search was performed for relevant studies. A search of abstracts presented in the main scientific meetings in the field and articles in press was also performed. Random effect model was used to pool the effect size across studies for changes in alkaline phosphatase, GGT, bilirubin and IgM levels before and after treatment and the overall rate of complete response to fenofibrate therapy.

Results: Six studies with 102 patients met the inclusion criteria. All studies were case series and in all, patients who had no or incomplete response to UDCA had fenofibrate added at a dose of 100-200mg daily. Treatment duration ranged from 8-100weeks. Treatment with fenofibrate was associated with a significant decrease in alkaline phosphatase (-114IU/L, 95% CI: -152 to -76, P<0.0001); a significant decrease in GGT level (-92IU/L, 95% CI: -149 to -43; P=0.0004); significant decrease in total bilirubin (-0.11mg/dL, 95% CI: -0.18 to -0.08; P=0.0008); and a significant decrease in IgM level (-88mg/dL, 95% CI: -119 to -58; P<0.0001). The complete response rate was 69% (95% CI: 53-82%) with an odds ratio of 82.8 (95% CI: 21.6-317.2; P=0.024) while on fenofibrate.

Conclusions: Fenofibrate at doses of 100-200mg daily appears to be effective adjunctive therapy in PBC patients who had no or incomplete response to UDCA. There is a critical need for larger scale randomized trials to determine its effect on liver-related morbidity and mortality (or progression towards end-stage disease).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Fenofibrate / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fenofibrate