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Summary

Background

Although the prognosis of type 1 autoimmune hepatitis is generally good with immunosuppressive treatment, the disease progresses in some patients despite the treatment. The prognosis may be determined by the clinical course.

Aim

To evaluate the long-term prognosis and assess the predictive factors for a serious event, including the development of hepatocellular carcinoma or death.

Methods

Sixty-nine patients with type 1 autoimmune hepatitis were prospectively followed up regularly, with a median follow-up period of 96 months (49–201 months).

Results

During the follow-up period, three patients (4%) developed hepatocellular carcinoma, and two of these three patients died. Another patient died of liver failure. The 10-year survival rate was 98%, and the 10-year hepatocellular carcinoma-free rate was 93%. The four patients experiencing a serious event received higher maintenance doses of corticosteroid during their follow-up periods than those did not. However, serum alanine aminotransferase levels during the follow-up period were higher in these four patients than in the others.

Conclusions

Persistent elevation of serum alanine amniotransferase levels during the follow-up period, rather than factors existing prior to medical treatment is considered to be an important prognostic factor, and it is indicated that poor outcomes may result from the resistance to immunosuppressive treatment.