There is a subset of patients who have biochemical and histologic features consistent with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) who lack antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA). This entity is usually referred to as AMA-negative PBC or alternatively autoimmune cholangitis. Patients who have AMA-negative PBC are believed to have a similar clinical course, response to treatment, and prognosis as their AMA-positive counterparts. As more sensitive and specific serologic tests are developed to detect serum AMA, it is possible we may find that these patients initially believed to be AMA-negative are indeed AMA-positive, suggesting a single disease process.
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