Features associated with treatment failure in type 1 autoimmune hepatitis and predictive value of the model of end-stage liver disease


  • Presented in part during Digestive Disease Week at the meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, May 20, 2007, Washington, DC.

  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


Autoimmune hepatitis may fail to respond to corticosteroid therapy, but the frequency and bases for this outcome are uncertain. We aimed to determine the frequency and nature of treatment failure in patients with type 1 autoimmune hepatitis, define features associated with its occurrence, and assess if the model for end-stage liver disease can predict this outcome. Patients failing conventional corticosteroid regimens were compared to patients who responded to similar regimens. Fourteen of 214 patients (7%) failed corticosteroid treatment. Patients who failed therapy were younger (33 ± 3 years versus 48 ± 1 years, P = 0.0008), had higher serum levels of bilirubin at accession (4.1 ± 0.9 mg/dL versus 2.3 ± 0.2 mg/dL, P = 0.02), presented acutely more frequently (43% versus 14%, P = 0.01), and had a higher frequency of HLA (human leukocyte antigen) DRB1*03 (93% versus 53%, P = 0.004) than did patients who achieved remission. An alternative disease (fatty liver disease) emerged in only 1 patient who failed therapy (7%). Scores determined by the model of end-stage liver disease at presentation of patients who failed treatment were higher than those of who achieved remission (16 ± 1 versus 10 ± 0.3 points, P < 0.0001), and score greater than 12 points had greater sensitivity (97%) and specificity (68%) for treatment failure than did HLA DRB1*03 or other features. Conclusion: Onset at an early age, acute presentation, hyperbilirubinemia, and presence of HLA DRB1*03 characterize patients who fail corticosteroid treatment. The model for end-stage liver disease may be a useful instrument for identifying patients prone to this outcome. (HEPATOLOGY 2007.)