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Review
, 28 (2), 123-31

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Associated With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Update

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Review

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Associated With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Update

Roberta E Rossi et al. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol.

Abstract

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic progressive disease, usually associated with underlying inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), with a prevalence of 60-80% in western countries. Herein, we review the current knowledge about the association between PSC and IBD in terms of clinical approach and long-term patient management. A PubMed search was conducted for English-language publications from 2000 through 2015 using the following keywords: primary sclerosing cholangitis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, diagnosis, therapy, follow-up, and epidemiology. In terms of diagnosis, liver function tests and histology are currently used. The medical treatment options for PSC associated with IBD do not differ from the cases of PSC alone, and include ursodeoxycholic acid and immunosuppressive agents. These treatments do not seem to improve survival, even if ursodeoxycholic acid given at low doses may be chemopreventive against colorectal cancer (CRC). Liver transplantation is the only potential curative therapy for PSC with reported survival rates of 85 and 70% at 5 and 10 years after transplant; however, there is a risk for PSC recurrence, worsening of IBD activity, and de-novo IBD occurrence after liver transplantation. PSC-IBD represents an important public health concern, especially in view of the increased risk for malignancy, including CRC. Long-life annual surveillance colonoscopy is usually recommended, although the exact timescale is still unclear. Further studies are required both to clarify whether annual colonoscopy is cost-effective, especially in younger patients, and to identify potential pharmaceutical agents and genetic targets that may retard disease progression and protect against CRC.

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