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      Association between Liver Fluke Infection and Hepatobiliary Pathological Changes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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          To provide information about the role of liver fluke infection as a risk factor for hepatobiliary pathological changes and promote awareness among the people living in endemic areas, a systematic review and meta-analysis based on published studies was conducted to examine the association between liver fluke infection and hepatobiliary pathological changes.


          Relevant original literature was searched in multiple literature databases, including PubMed, Cochrane, Clinical Evidence, Trip Database, Clinical Trials, Current Controlled Trials, Web of Science, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, and the Wanfang academic journal full-text database. Studies were selected based on strict screening with inclusion and exclusion criteria. Tests of heterogeneity, sensitivity and publication bias were performed with the Review Manager software, version 5.3, and meta-regression analyses were performed with the Stata software, version 11.0 (Stata Corporation, College Station, TX, USA). Pooled risk ratios (RRs) and odds ratios (ORs) with their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated and used to evaluate the risk of hepatobiliary pathological changes resulting from liver fluke infection. Linear trend analyses were conducted to determine the dose-response relationship using IBM SPSS Statistics 20.0.


          A total of 36 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Significant associations were found between liver fluke infection and cholangitis or cholecystitis (RR: 7.80, P<0.001; OR: 15.98, P<0.001), cholelithiasis (RR: 2.42, P = 0.03; OR: 4.96, P = 0.03), hepatocellular carcinoma (OR: 4.69, P<0.001) and cholangiocarcinoma (RR: 10.43, P<0.001; OR: 4.37, P<0.001). In addition, heavier infection was significantly associated with higher incidence of hepatobiliary pathological changes (P<0.05). However, cirrhosis was not significantly associated with liver fluke infection (RR: 3.50, P = 0.06; OR: 5.79, P = 0.08). The statistical heterogeneity was significant, no significant difference was observed in the sensitivity analysis, and no publication bias was found.


          The meta-analysis found that liver fluke infection was significantly associated with cholangitis, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma and that more severe infection was associated with higher incidence. However, the association between liver fluke infection and cirrhosis was not significant.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Global burden of human food-borne trematodiasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

          Food-borne trematodiases are a group of neglected tropical diseases caused by liver, lung, and intestinal parasitic fluke infections. As part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD 2010 study) and a WHO initiative, we assessed the global burden of human food-borne trematodiasis, as expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for the year 2005. We systematically searched electronic databases for reports about human food-borne trematodiasis without language restriction, between Jan 1, 1980, and Dec 31, 2008. We used a broad search strategy with a combination of search terms and parasite and disease names. The initial search results were then screened on the basis of title, abstract, and, finally, full text. Relevant quantitative and qualitative data on human prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of food-borne trematodiasis were extracted. On the basis of available information on pathological and clinical appearance, we developed simplified disease models and did meta-analyses on the proportions and odds ratios of specified sequelae and estimated the global burden of human food-borne trematodiasis. We screened 33,921 articles and identified 181 eligible studies containing quantitative information for inclusion in the meta-analyses. About 56·2 million people were infected with food-borne trematodes in 2005: 7·9 million had severe sequelae and 7158 died, most from cholangiocarcinoma and cerebral infection. Taken together, we estimate that the global burden of food-borne trematodiasis was 665,352 DALYs (lower estimate 479,496 DALYs; upper estimate 859,051 DALYs). Furthermore, knowledge gaps in crucial epidemiological disease parameters and methodological features for estimating the global burden of parasitic diseases that are characterised by highly focal spatial occurrence and scarce and patchy information were highlighted. Despite making conservative estimates, we found that food-borne trematodiases are an important cluster of neglected diseases. Swiss National Science Foundation; Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            The tumorigenic liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini--multiple pathways to cancer.

            Liver fluke infection caused by Opisthorchis viverrini is a major public health problem in Thailand and adjacent countries. In addition to infection-associated morbidity, infection with O. viverrini and the related Clonorchis sinensis are unarguable risk factors for cholangiocarcinoma (CAA, bile-duct cancer). Here we review the pathogenesis of opisthorchiasis and the association between O. viverrini infection and bile-duct cancer, focusing on the molecular parallels between wound healing, chronic inflammation, and cancer development. We review a schema for human disease progression from fluke infection, chronic opisthorchiasis, advanced periductal fibrosis, and cholangiocarcinogenesis, and present a rationale for biomarker discovery to facilitate early intervention. We conclude by addressing post-genomic advances with a view to developing new control strategies to combat this infectious cancer. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Statistical heterogeneity in systematic reviews of clinical trials: a critical appraisal of guidelines and practice.

              Heterogeneity between study results can be a problem in any systematic review or meta-analysis of clinical trials. Identifying its presence, investigating its cause and correctly accounting for it in analyses all involve difficult decisions for the researcher. Our objectives were: to collate recommendations on the subject of dealing with heterogeneity in systematic reviews of clinical trials; to investigate current practice in addressing heterogeneity in Cochrane reviews; and to compare current practice with recommendations. We review guidelines for those undertaking systematic reviews and examine how heterogeneity is addressed in practice in a sample of systematic reviews, and their protocols, from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Advice to reviewers is on the whole consistent and sensible. However, examination of a sample of Cochrane protocols and reviews demonstrates that the advice is difficult to follow given the small numbers of studies identified in many systematic reviews, the difficulty of pre-specifying important effect modifiers for subgroup analysis or meta-regression and the unresolved debate concerning fixed versus random effects meta-analyses. There was disagreement between protocols and reviews, often either regarding choice of important potential effect modifiers or due to the review identifying too few studies to perform planned analyses. Guidelines that address practical issues are required to reduce the risk of spurious findings from investigations of heterogeneity. This may involve discouraging statistical investigations such as subgroup analyses and meta-regression, rather than simply adopting a cautious approach to their interpretation, unless a large number of studies is available. The notion of a priori specification of potential effect modifiers for a retrospective review of studies is ill-defined, and the appropriateness of using a statistical test for heterogeneity to decide between analysis strategies is suspect.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                17 July 2015
                : 10
                : 7
                Department of Pathogen Biology, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, the People’s Republic of China
                Hebrew University, ISRAEL
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: JX SCJ HJP. Performed the experiments: JX SCJ. Analyzed the data: JX SCJ. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: JX. Wrote the paper: JX SCJ. Data collection: JX SCJ HJP. Manuscript revision: SCJ. Data proofing: HJP. Manuscript submission: HJP.


                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
                Figures: 6, Tables: 4, Pages: 19
                This research was supported by the funding of National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81271866), and Guangdong Province Universities and Colleges Pearl River Scholar Funded Scheme (2014) to HJP. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
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