Noninvasive tests for fibrosis and liver stiffness predict 5-year outcomes of patients with chronic hepatitis C

2011 Gastroenterology 140, 7 (1970-9, 1979 e1-3)

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Liver stiffness can be measured noninvasively to assess liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C. In patients with chronic liver diseases, level of fibrosis predicts liver-related complications and survival. We evaluated the abilities of liver stiffness, results from noninvasive tests for fibrosis, and liver biopsy analyses to predict overall survival or survival without liver-related death with a 5-year period.
METHODS: In a consecutive cohort of 1457 patients with chronic hepatitis C, we assessed fibrosis and, on the same day, liver stiffness, performed noninvasive tests of fibrosis (FibroTest, the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index, FIB-4), and analyzed liver biopsy samples. We analyzed data on death, liver-related death, and liver transplantation collected during a 5-year follow-up period.
RESULTS: At 5 years, 77 patients had died (39 liver-related deaths) and 16 patients had undergone liver transplantation. Overall survival was 91.7% and survival without liver-related death was 94.4%. Survival was significantly decreased among patients diagnosed with severe fibrosis, regardless of the noninvasive method of analysis. All methods were able to predict shorter survival times in this large population; liver stiffness and results of FibroTest had higher predictive values. Patient outcomes worsened as liver stiffness and FibroTest values increased. Prognostic values of stiffness (P<.0001) and FibroTest results (P<.0001) remained after they were adjusted for treatment response, patient age, and estimates of necroinflammatory grade.
CONCLUSIONS: Noninvasive tests for liver fibrosis (measurement of liver stiffness or FibroTest) can predict 5-year survival of patients with chronic hepatitis C. These tools might help physicians determine prognosis at earlier stages and discuss specific treatments, such as liver transplantation.

Pubmed : 21376047