Recurrence of primary sclerosing cholangitis after liver transplantation - analysing the European Liver Transplant Registry and beyond

Transpl Int. 2021 Aug;34(8):1455-1467. doi: 10.1111/tri.13925. Epub 2021 Jun 28.


Liver transplantation for primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) can be complicated by recurrence of PSC (rPSC). This may compromise graft survival but the effect on patient survival is less clear. We investigated the effect of post-transplant rPSC on graft and patient survival in a large European cohort. Registry data from the European Liver Transplant Registry regarding all first transplants for PSC between 1980 and 2015 were supplemented with detailed data on rPSC from 48 out of 138 contributing transplant centres, involving 1,549 patients. Bayesian proportional hazards models were used to investigate the impact of rPSC and other covariates on patient and graft survival. Recurrence of PSC was diagnosed in 259 patients (16.7%) after a median follow-up of 5.0 years (quantile 2.5%-97.5%: 0.4-18.5), with a significant negative impact on both graft (HR 6.7; 95% CI 4.9-9.1) and patient survival (HR 2.3; 95% CI 1.5-3.3). Patients with rPSC underwent significantly more re-transplants than those without rPSC (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.7-4.8). PSC recurrence has a negative impact on both graft and patient survival, independent of transplant-related covariates. Recurrence of PSC leads to higher number of re-transplantations and a 33% decrease in 10-year graft survival.

Keywords: bayesian statistics; disease recurrence; liver transplantation; patient and graft survival; primary sclerosing cholangitis.

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Recurrence
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors