The clinical course of 37 patients who underwent 46 liver transplantations for primary (n = 33) and secondary (n = 4) sclerosing cholangitis was reviewed. The median follow-up was 37 months. The patient and graft survivals for patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis at 1, 2, and 5 years were 96.9%, 91.6%, 87.9%, and 83.1%, 74.2%, 65.2%, respectively. In the patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), prior surgery except for simple cholecystectomy was associated with significantly greater operative time and blood loss. No cholangiocarcinoma was identified at the time of transplantation. Human leukocyte antigen typing for PSC patients was heavily weighed toward B8 (58.8%) compared with control (11.8%). Sixty-two percent of patients with PSC also had inflammatory bowel disease. Moderate or severe rejection requiring OKT3, "rescue therapy" with FK506, or retransplantation was relatively higher in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (70%) versus patients without inflammatory bowel disease (36.4%) and a matched control group (37.5%). Progressive inflammatory bowel disease was seen in 6 of 19 patients, with 3 developing cancer and a dysplasia. Two patients in the entire group died of sepsis and 3 of colon cancer (2 recurrent and 1 primary). These data demonstrate that excellent survival results can be achieved in this group of patients. Rejection is frequent and often severe and steroid refractory. Colon cancer represents the most frequent cause of death in PSC patients after liver transplantation and demands constant attention.
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