Malignancies following long-term azathioprine treatment in chronic liver disease

A report from the Copenhagen Study Group for Liver Diseases*

Authors

  • U. Tage-Jensen,

    1. Medical Department B, Bispebjerg Hospital, Medical Department 2, Kommunehospitalet, Medical Department A and Department of Infectious Diseases M, Rigshospitalet, Medical Department B, Frederiksberg Hospital, Medical Department, Sct. Elisabeth Hospital, Division of Hepatology and Department of Pathology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • P. Schlichting,

    1. Medical Department B, Bispebjerg Hospital, Medical Department 2, Kommunehospitalet, Medical Department A and Department of Infectious Diseases M, Rigshospitalet, Medical Department B, Frederiksberg Hospital, Medical Department, Sct. Elisabeth Hospital, Division of Hepatology and Department of Pathology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • H. F. Thomsen,

    1. Medical Department B, Bispebjerg Hospital, Medical Department 2, Kommunehospitalet, Medical Department A and Department of Infectious Diseases M, Rigshospitalet, Medical Department B, Frederiksberg Hospital, Medical Department, Sct. Elisabeth Hospital, Division of Hepatology and Department of Pathology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • G. Høybye,

    1. Medical Department B, Bispebjerg Hospital, Medical Department 2, Kommunehospitalet, Medical Department A and Department of Infectious Diseases M, Rigshospitalet, Medical Department B, Frederiksberg Hospital, Medical Department, Sct. Elisabeth Hospital, Division of Hepatology and Department of Pathology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • Aa. C. Thomsen M. D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Medical Department B, Bispebjerg Hospital, Medical Department 2, Kommunehospitalet, Medical Department A and Department of Infectious Diseases M, Rigshospitalet, Medical Department B, Frederiksberg Hospital, Medical Department, Sct. Elisabeth Hospital, Division of Hepatology and Department of Pathology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • The Copenhagen Study Group for Liver Diseases

    1. Medical Department B, Bispebjerg Hospital, Medical Department 2, Kommunehospitalet, Medical Department A and Department of Infectious Diseases M, Rigshospitalet, Medical Department B, Frederiksberg Hospital, Medical Department, Sct. Elisabeth Hospital, Division of Hepatology and Department of Pathology, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • *

    Members of the group are: M. Bjørneboe, P. Christoffersen, O. Dietrichson, V. Faber, G. Høybye, F. Hardt, M. Hilden, K. Iversen, O. Jessen, E. Juhl, J. Lindskov, S. Munksgaard, J. O. Nielsen, S. Nørregaard, H. Poulsen, H. Prytz, K. Ramsøe, L. Ranek, V. Reinicke, P. Schlichting, T. I. A. Sørensen, U. Tage-Jensen, Aa. C. Thomsen, N. Tygstrup and K. Winkler.

Medical Department B Bispebjerg Hospital 2400 Copenhagen NV Denmark

Abstract

ABSTRACT— One hundred and fifty-four patients with histologically verified nonalcoholic chronic liver disease were randomized to azathioprine or prednisone treatment. After a median of 91 months observation time, the cause of death was assessed retrospectively. Autopsy was performed in 82% of 71 deaths. In the azathioprine group 33% (13/39) died from malignant neoplasia, and in the prednisone group (13%) (4/32) (p = 0.08). Considering a possible fatal outcome as a consequence of treatment, this finding urges caution in the long-term application of azathioprine at the usual dose level.

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