Real-world management of patients with primary biliary cholangitis—a retrospective study from a tertiary medical center in Israel

Eyal Yehezkel, Inbal Israel, Inbal Houri, Moshe Leshno, Oren Shibolet, Ehud Zigmond*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a rare autoimmune liver disease with variation in prevalence, phenotype and prognosis across different geographical regions. Little is known about PBC in Israel. Our aim was to characterize the demography, clinical presentation, treatment patterns and prognosis in a cohort of PBC patients followed in a referral center in central Israel. Methods: Clinical, demographic and laboratory data were collected from the medical records of PBC patients followed at Tel Aviv Medical Center in the years 2003–2020. Results: We have identified 189 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of PBC; 92.6% were female and the mean age at diagnosis was 54.7 years. Thirty-nine percent were diagnosed with another autoimmune disease and 5.9% were diagnosed with a PBC-AIH (autoimmune hepatitis) variant syndrome. Ninety-six percent were treated with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) at a mean dose of 13.3 mg/kg. A total of 28.1% were found with inadequate response to UDCA according to the Toronto criteria, and 53% of the UDCA non-responders were treated with bezafibrate. Younger age at diagnosis, higher baseline levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), AIH-PBC variant and positive anti-smooth muscle antibodies (ASMA) were associated with an inadequate UDCA response. In a multivariable analysis, higher ALP at diagnosis (OR = 1.92 CI 1.11–3.20 per 50-unit change, p = 0.018) and ASMA (OR = 27.6 CI 2.58–295, p = 0.006) independently predicted inadequate UDCA response. Higher alanine transaminase (ALT), ALP and GGT, lower albumin, younger age at diagnosis and pruritus conferred an increased risk for disease progression. Conclusions: Disease characteristics, treatment patterns, response to therapy and prognosis of a PBC patient cohort in a tertiary center in central Israel were revealed. The results highlight the importance of risk stratification in PBC, specifically in younger patients, those presenting with a high level of liver enzymes and in ASMA-positive patients with an assumed diagnosis of the AIH-PBC variant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4551
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Primary biliary cholangitis
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment response
  • Ursodeoxycholic acid


Dive into the research topics of 'Real-world management of patients with primary biliary cholangitis—a retrospective study from a tertiary medical center in Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this