Although there was some initial controversy, there is now a consensus that primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) does indeed recur in both cadaveric and living donated allografts. Recurrence rate after deceased donor liver transplantation (LT) was reported to be 10.9–23% at 5 years. In the present study, we reviewed 221 PBC patients who underwent living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) in Japan. The 5-year overall survival rate was 79%, and the rate of recurrence based on histological findings was 10% (7/70) after a median time of 36 months. Primary immunosuppression, withdrawal of corticosteroids and human leukocyte antigen matches were not associated with the recurrence. Recurrent PBC appears to have little impact on graft function and survival, but this may become a greater problem with longer follow up.
It is noteworthy that the 10-year survival of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) patients who underwent LDLT wasfound to be only 39.1% in Japan, whereas that of PBC was 72.9%. Factors associated with the poor prognosis include biliary strictures, hepatobiliary and colorectal malignancies, and recurrence of PSC. In our study, we reviewed 66 patients with PSC who underwent LDLT in Japan. The 5-year survival rate was 72%, and the rate of recurrence diagnosed on histological and cholangiographic findings was 25% (11/44). Well-defined diagnostic criteria and longer studies are required to characterize the nature of recurrent PSC and its impact on graft survival in more detail.