Outcomes of Childhood Cholestasis in Alagille Syndrome: Results of a Multicenter Observational Study

Hepatol Commun. 2020 Jan 22;4(3):387-398. doi: 10.1002/hep4.1468. eCollection 2020 Mar.


Alagille syndrome (ALGS) is an autosomal dominant multisystem disorder with cholestasis as a defining clinical feature. We sought to characterize hepatic outcomes in a molecularly defined cohort of children with ALGS-related cholestasis. Two hundred and ninety-three participants with ALGS with native liver were enrolled. Participants entered the study at different ages and data were collected retrospectively prior to enrollment, and prospectively during the study course. Genetic analysis in 206 revealed JAGGED1 mutations in 91% and NOTCH2 mutations in 4%. Growth was impaired with mean height and weight z-scores of <-1.0 at all ages. Regression analysis revealed that every 10 mg/dL increase in total bilirubin was associated with a decrease in height z-score by 0.10 (P = 0.03) and weight z-score by 0.15 (P = 0.007). Total bilirubin was higher for younger participants (P = 0.03) with a median of 6.9 mg/dL for those less than 1 year old compared with a median of 1.3 mg/dL for participants 13 years or older. The median gamma glutamyl transferase also dropped from 612 to 268 in the same age groups. After adjusting for age, there was substantial within-individual variation of alanine aminotransferase. By 20 years of age, 40% of participants had developed definite portal hypertension. Estimated liver transplant-free survival at the age of 18.5 years was 24%. Conclusions: This is the largest multicenter natural history study of cholestasis in ALGS, demonstrating a previously underappreciated burden of liver disease with early profound cholestasis, a second wave of portal hypertension later in childhood, and less than 25% of patients reaching young adulthood with their native liver. These findings will promote optimization of ALGS management and development of clinically relevant endpoints for future therapeutic trials.