Sclerosing cholangitis.Curr Opin Gastroenterol 2006; 22(3):288-93CO
PURPOSE OF REVIEW
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a chronic cholestatic liver disease characterized by strictures of the biliary tree complicated by cirrhosis and cholangiocarcinoma. It is immune mediated although the precise etiology remains unknown.
Research into etiopathogenesis, epidemiology, the relationship with inflammatory bowel disease, diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma, medical therapy, and the outcome of liver transplantation are discussed.
It is likely that a number of patients previously diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis have autoimmune pancreatitis in association with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a syndrome with distinct clinicopathological features including steroid responsiveness. Primary sclerosing cholangitis-inflammatory bowel disease probably represents a distinct inflammatory bowel disease phenotype, which has implications for colonoscopic surveillance of these patients. CA19-9 plays no surveillance role for the early detection of cholangiocarcinoma. The best-studied drug in primary sclerosing cholangitis is ursodeoxycholic acid, which, despite a range of potentially valuable actions on the cholestatic liver, has not yet been proved to make a substantial impression on the course of the disease. Orthotopic liver transplantation remains the only established long-term treatment for primary sclerosing cholangitis.