Minorities More Likely Than Whites To Have More Severe Cases of Rare Liver Disease, Study Finds
While primary biliary cirrhosis, a rare form of cirrhosis that destroys small bile ducts in the liver, usually affects young and middle-aged white women, minorities with the disease often have a more severe form than whites, according to a study published in the September issue of Hepatology, Reuters reports.
For the report, Marion Peters of the University of California-San Francisco and colleagues analyzed 535 individuals with PBC who were being screened for a clinical trial. Participants included 462 whites, 21 blacks, 42 Hispanics and 10 other minorities. Researchers found that 46.6% of minorities were deemed ineligible for the trial because of greater disease severity, compared with 25.1% of whites. Blacks and Hispanics also were more likely than whites to have a lower activity level; severe or difficult-to-control chronic itching; and a more advanced form of the disease.
Peters noted that because the disease is more common among white women, there are limited data on minorities with the disease. According to the study, "It is not clear whether these patients had more rapid disease, less access to care early in their disease or misdiagnoses due to inadequate testing, the absence of liver biopsies or the presence of (other illnesses) that may have led to a delay in treatment" (Reuters, 9/20).
The study is available online.