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Tamoxifen: A novel treatment for primary biliary cirrhosis?

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Oliver James, Siddesh Jain, Professor Margaret Bassendine


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Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic cholestatic liver disease, which predominantly affects women. It is characterised histologically by necroinflammation of small intrahepatic bile ducts and biochemically by elevated serum alkaline phosphatase, levels of which at diagnosis predict survival. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is the only treatment shown to improve liver biochemistry and survival. We report two patients with PBC who show a fall in serum alkaline phosphates levels whilst receiving tamoxifen therapy. Tamoxifen may exert this effect, which warrants further study, either via cholangiocyte estrogen receptors, inhibiting cholangiocyte proliferation and inducing apoptosis or by activating pregnane X receptor, analogous to the mode of action of UDCA. Copyright © Blackwell Munksgaard 2004.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reddy A, Prince M, James OF, Jain S, Bassendine MF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Liver International

Year: 2004

Volume: 24

Issue: 3

Pages: 194-197

ISSN (print): 1478-3223

ISSN (electronic): 1478-3231

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2004.00920.x

PubMed id: 15189268


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