Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Liver cancer incidence lower in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease than hepatitis C

Liver cancer incidence lower in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease than hepatitis C

Study shows rates of mortality similar in NAFLD and HCV infection

Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis have a lower incidence of liver-related complications and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) than patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to the prospective study published in the October issue of Hepatology, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Patients with both NAFLD and HCV had similar mortality rates.

NAFLD has become the most prevalent cause of chronic liver disease worldwide, with studies reporting up to 30% of the general population and 75% of obese individuals having the disease. A minority of cases develop fibrosis or cirrhosis of the liver, and NAFLD with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis can lead to hepatic-related complications, HCC, liver failure or death. While the incidence of NAFLD has increased, studies of the natural history of the disease in conjunction with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis and later outcomes have been limited.

"Our study reports on the long-term morbidity and mortality of NAFLD patients with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis by prospectively following up cases from four international collaborating hepatology centers," explains lead author Dr. Neeraj Bhala from the University of Oxford in the UK. "Understanding the long term prognosis of NAFLD patients compared with patients affected by other liver diseases such as chronic HCV was an important aspect of our study." Medical evidence suggests that while HCV is currently the leading indication for liver transplantation, affecting more than 5 million individuals in the U.S, HCV incidence has plateaued, while that for NAFLD is on the rise.

In the largest prospective study of participants with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis to date, the team recruited 247 patients with NAFLD and 264 patients with HCV infection who were not previously treated or were unresponsive to therapy from centers in Australia, Italy, the UK and the USA. Patients in both groups were Child-Pugh class A and had advanced fibrosis (stage 3) or cirrhosis (stage 4) confirmed by liver biopsy at the onset of the study. Follow-up in the NAFLD and HCV groups was a mean of 86 and 75 months, respectively.

Of those patients in the NAFLD group, 19% had liver-related complications and 13% died (or received transplants). Liver-related complications and deaths (or transplants) in the HCV cohort were lower at 17% and 9%, respectively. However, after adjusting for age and gender, the incidence of liver-related complications, including liver cancer, was lower in the NAFLD group compared to the HCV cohort. Researchers found that cardiovascular complications and overall mortality were comparable between the groups, although moderate differences cannot be excluded, highlighting the need for even larger collaborative prospective studies.

In a related editorial published this month in Hepatology, Dr. Mary Rinella with Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Illinois said, "The study by Bhala and colleagues expands our knowledge of the natural history of NAFLD and NASH. While HCC was not surprisingly higher in untreated patients with HCV compared to NAFLD, this study highlights the potential of HCC development in non-cirrhotic patients with HCV and NASH. If patients with NAFLD or HCV are likely to develop HCC before the development of cirrhosis, this has tremendous implications for how and when liver cancer screening should begin in patients with liver disease."
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Full Citations: "The Natural History of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Advanced Fibrosis or Cirrhosis: An International Collaborative Study." Neeraj Bhala, Paul Angulo, David van der Poorten,Eric Lee, Jason M. Hui, Giorgio Saracco, Leon A. Adams, Punchai Charatcharoenwitthaya, Joanne H. Topping, Elisabetta Bugianesi, Christopher P. Day and Jacob George. Hepatology; Published Online: August 9, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/hep.24491); Print Issue Date: October 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.24491/abstract.
Editorial: "Will the Increased Prevalence of NASH in the Age of Better HCV Therapy Make NASH the Deadlier Disease?" Mary Rinella and Hildegard B√ľning. Hepatology; Published Online: August 30, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/hep.24634); Print Issue Date: October 2011. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hep.24634/abstract.
These studies are published in Hepatology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the articles may contact healthnews@wiley.com.

About the Journal
Hepatology is the premier publication in the field of liver disease, publishing original, peer-reviewed articles concerning all aspects of liver structure, function and disease. Hepatology's current impact factor is 10.885.Each month, the distinguished Editorial Board monitors and selects only the best articles on subjects such as immunology, chronic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, genetic and metabolic liver diseases and their complications, liver cancer, and drug metabolism. Hepatology is published on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). For more information, please visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1527-3350 .

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Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit www.wileyblackwell.com or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.
Media Advisory

What: The 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
Founded in 1950, AASLD is the leading organization of scientists and healthcare professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease. AASLD has grown into an international society responsible for all aspects of hepatology, and the annual meeting attracts 8,500 physicians, surgeons, researchers, and allied health professionals from around the world.
The Liver Meeting® is the premier meeting in the science and practice of hepatology, including the latest findings on new drugs, novel treatments, and the results from pilot and multicenter studies.

When: November 4-8, 2011
Where: Moscone West Convention Center San Francisco, California
Contact: Please contact Ann Haran at 703-299-9766 or aharan@aasld.org to obtain a press pass for this event.

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