Noninvasive tests may determine chronic hepatitis C survival

Noninvasive tests may determine chronic hepatitis C survival

By Lauretta Ihonor
06 April 2011Gastroenterology 2011;

Advance online publicationMedWire News: Noninvasive determination of liver fibrosis severity offers greater 5-year prognostic value in chronic hepatitis C patients than the gold standard liver biopsy, study findings indicate.

These noninvasive tests - FibroTest (a liver biomarker test) and liver stiffness (measured by ultrasound scan) - may help clinicians evaluate liver disease severity earlier in the disease process, and to decide if liver transplant, portosystemic shunts, or surgery will be required by the patient at a later date, say the authors.

The analysis, published in the journal Gastroenterology showed that FibroTest and liver stiffness measurements had high predictive accuracies for 5-year chronic hepatitis C survival, with respective area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values of 0.80 and 0.82.

In contrast, liver biopsy had a lower, albeit clinically acceptable, AUC value of 0.76.

The findings arise from a study involving 1457 patients with chronic hepatitis C who were followed-up for 5 years.

During this time, 16 (1.1%) patients underwent liver transplant and 77 (5.3%) died from any cause (39 liver disease-related).

Victor de Lédinghen (Hôpital Haut-Lévêque, Bordeaux, France) and team report that the majority of patients with a major adverse outcome (death or transplant) during follow-up had liver fibrosis defined as severe by biopsy, FibroTest, or liver stiffness measurement.

For example, of the 93 patients who died or had a transplant, 68.8% had a liver stiffness measurement of at least 14.5 kPa - a level indicating liver cirrhosis.

In addition as liver stiffness and FibroTest values increased, reflecting worsening fibrosis severity, patient survival rates decreased.

De Lédinghen and colleagues say: "Liver stiffness and FibroTest are already a strong daily parameter to give information to patients and their family on the severity of the liver disease."

However, these tests could replace liver biopsy in the evaluation of hepatitis C prognosis, they conclude.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

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