Genotype correlates with the natural history of severe bile salt export pump deficiency

J Hepatol. 2020 Jul;73(1):84-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2020.02.007. Epub 2020 Feb 20.


Background & aims: Mutations in ABCB11 can cause deficiency of the bile salt export pump (BSEP), leading to cholestasis and end-stage liver disease. Owing to the rarity of the disease, the associations between genotype and natural history, or outcomes following surgical biliary diversion (SBD), remain elusive. We aimed to determine these associations by assembling the largest genetically defined cohort of patients with severe BSEP deficiency to date.

Methods: This multicentre, retrospective cohort study included 264 patients with homozygous or compound heterozygous pathological ABCB11 mutations. Patients were categorized according to genotypic severity (BSEP1, BSEP2, BSEP3). The predicted residual BSEP transport function decreased with each category.

Results: Genotype severity was strongly associated with native liver survival (NLS, BSEP1 median 20.4 years; BSEP2, 7.0 years; BSEP3, 3.5 years; p <0.001). At 15 years of age, the proportion of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma was 4% in BSEP1, 7% in BSEP2 and 34% in BSEP3 (p = 0.001). SBD was associated with significantly increased NLS (hazard ratio 0.50; 95% CI 0.27-0.94: p = 0.03) in BSEP1 and BSEP2. A serum bile acid concentration below 102 μmol/L or a decrease of at least 75%, each shortly after SBD, reliably predicted NLS of ≥15 years following SBD (each p <0.001).

Conclusions: The genotype of severe BSEP deficiency strongly predicts long-term NLS, the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, and the chance that SBD will increase NLS. Serum bile acid parameters shortly after SBD can predict long-term NLS.

Lay summary: This study presents data from the largest genetically defined cohort of patients with severe bile salt export pump deficiency to date. The genotype of patients with severe bile salt export pump deficiency is associated with clinical outcomes and the success of therapeutic interventions. Therefore, genotypic data should be used to guide personalized clinical care throughout childhood and adulthood in patients with this disease.

Keywords: ABCB11; Natural history; PFIC2; Severe BSEP deficiency; Surgical biliary diversion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't