Non-amyloid liver involvement in familial Mediterranean fever: A systematic literature review

Liver Int. 2020 Jun;40(6):1269-1277. doi: 10.1111/liv.14445. Epub 2020 Apr 15.


Introduction: Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), the most frequent autoinflammatory disease, is caused by mutations in the MEFV gene. It is characterized by recurrent febrile attacks of polyserositis. Liver abnormalities may develop during its course, but they remain poorly defined.

Objective: To describe liver involvement in FMF patients.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted through PubMed/Medline and Embase from 1946 to January 2020. All articles describing children and adults with FMF and liver involvement were included. Patients with amyloidosis were excluded. The selected full-text articles were independently reviewed by three investigators.

Results: Forty-three articles were identified, of which 20 articles with a total of 99 patients were included: 74 adults, 23 children and two patients of unknown age. Ten patients had cryptogenic cirrhosis, 48 had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), four had Budd-Chiari syndrome (BCS), 12 had isolated hyperbilirubinaemia and 25 had elevated liver enzymes.

Conclusion: Despite a low prevalence of metabolic risk factors, FMF may be associated with NAFLD and cryptogenic cirrhosis as a consequence of chronic or recurrent inflammation. FMF patients should be regularly screened for liver injury. The latter may be prevented and treated by daily colchicine intake. The evidence was insufficient to establish an association with BCS, hyperbilirubinaemia or autoimmune hepatitis.

Keywords: colchicine; cytolysis; familial Mediterranean fever; inflammation; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amyloidosis* / epidemiology
  • Amyloidosis* / etiology
  • Child
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use
  • Familial Mediterranean Fever* / complications
  • Humans
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease*
  • Pyrin


  • MEFV protein, human
  • Pyrin
  • Colchicine