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      Discordance between Liver Biopsy and FibroScan® in Assessing Liver Fibrosis in Chronic Hepatitis B: Risk Factors and Influence of Necroinflammation

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          Few studies have investigated predictors of discordance between liver biopsy (LB) and liver stiffness measurement (LSM) using FibroScan®. We assessed predictors of discordance between LB and LSM in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and investigated the effects of necroinflammatory activity.


          In total, 150 patients (107 men, 43 women) were prospectively enrolled. Only LSM with ≥10 valid measurements was considered reliable. Liver fibrosis was evaluated using the Laennec system. LB specimens <15 mm in length were considered ineligible. Reference cutoff LSM values to determine discordance were calculated from our cohort (6.0 kPa for ≥F2, 7.5 kPa for ≥F3, and 9.4 kPa for F4).


          A discordance, defined as a discordance of at least two stages between LB and LSM, was identified in 21 (14.0%) patients. In multivariate analyses, fibrosis stages F3–4 and F4 showed independent negative associations with discordance ( P = 0.002; hazard ratio [HR], 0.073; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.014–0.390 for F3–4 and P = 0.014; HR, 0.067; 95% CI, 0.008–0.574 for F4). LSM values were not significantly different between maximal activity grades 1–2 and 3–4 in F1 and F2 fibrosis stages, whereas LSM values were significantly higher in maximal activity grade 3–4 than 1–2 in F3 and F4 fibrosis stage (median 8.6 vs. 11.3 kPa in F3, P = 0.049; median 11.9 vs. 19.2 kPa in F4, P = 0.009).


          Advanced fibrosis stage (F3–4) or cirrhosis (F4) showed a negative correlation with discordance between LB and LSM in patients with CHB, and maximal activity grade 3–4 significantly influenced LSM values in F3 and F4.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Non-invasive evaluation of liver fibrosis using transient elastography.

          Transient elastography (TE, FibroScan) is a novel non-invasive method that has been proposed for the assessment of hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic liver diseases, by measuring liver stiffness. TE is a rapid and user-friendly technique that can be easily performed at the bedside or in the outpatient clinic with immediate results and good reproducibility. Limitations include failure in around 5% of cases, mainly in obese patients. So far, TE has been mostly validated in chronic hepatitis C, with diagnostic performance equivalent to that of serum markers for the diagnosis of significant fibrosis. Combining TE with serum markers increases diagnostic accuracy and as a result, liver biopsy could be avoided for initial assessment in most patients with chronic hepatitis C. This strategy warrants further evaluation in other aetiological types of chronic liver diseases. TE appears to be an excellent tool for early detection of cirrhosis and may have prognostic value in this setting. As TE has excellent patient acceptance it could be useful for monitoring fibrosis progression and regression in the individual case, but more data are awaited for this application. Guidelines are needed for the use of TE in clinical practice.
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            Acute viral hepatitis increases liver stiffness values measured by transient elastography.

            Liver tissue alterations other than fibrosis may have an impact on liver stiffness measurement. In this study we evaluated 18 patients without a previous clinical history of liver disease, consecutively admitted for acute viral hepatitis. In each patient, aminotransferase determination and liver stiffness measurement were performed on the same study day, at 3 different points: (1) peak increase in aminotransferase; (2) aminotransferase 50% or less of the peak; (3) aminotransferase levels
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              Transient elastography: a new surrogate marker of liver fibrosis influenced by major changes of transaminases.

               R Sacco,  B Coco,  F Oliveri (2007)
              Liver stiffness was measured by transient elastography (FibroScan) in 228 consecutive patients with chronic viral hepatitis, with (115) or without cirrhosis (113), to study its correlations with serum transaminases [alanine aminotransferase (ALT)], fibrosis stage and surrogate noninvasive markers of fibrosis (APRI, FORNS, FibroTest and hyaluronic acid). The dynamic profiles of serum transaminases and liver stiffness were compared by multiple testing in 31 patients during a 6-month follow-up. We identified 8.3 and 14 kPa as the fibrosis >/=F2 and cirrhosis cut-offs, respectively: their sensitivities were 85.2%/78.3%; specificities 90.7%/98.2%; positive predictive values 93.9%/97.8%; negative predictive values 78.8%/81.6%; diagnostic accuracies 87.3%/88.2%. FibroScan performed better than the other surrogate markers of fibrosis (P < 0.001). Other than fibrosis, other factors independently associated with liver stiffness were ALT for all patients and chronic hepatitis patients (P < 0.001), and 12-month persistently normal ALT (biochemical remission, P < 0.001) in cirrhotics. In patients with biochemical remission either spontaneous or after antiviral therapy (48 of 228, 21%), liver stiffness was lower than in patients with identical fibrosis stage, but elevated ALT (P < 0.001). The liver stiffness dynamic profiles paralleled those of ALT, increasing 1.3- to 3-fold during ALT flares in 10 patients with hepatitis exacerbations. Liver stiffness remained unchanged in 21 with stable biochemical activity (P = 0.001). In conclusion, transient elastography is a new liver parameter that behaves as a reliable surrogate marker of fibrosis in chronic viral hepatitis patients, provided that its relationship with major changes of biochemical activity is taken into account.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                23 February 2012
                : 7
                : 2
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
                [2 ]Institute of Gastroenterology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
                [3 ]Department of Pathology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
                [4 ]Center for Chronic Metabolic Disease, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
                [5 ]Liver Cirrhosis Clinical Research Center, Seoul, Korea
                [6 ]Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Seoul, Korea
                The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: YNP KHH JKK. Analyzed the data: SUK. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: SUK. Wrote the paper: SUK.

                Kim et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 8
                Research Article
                Diagnostic Medicine
                Gastroenterology and Hepatology
                Liver Diseases
                Infectious Diseases
                Viral Diseases



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