Non-invasive prediction of forthcoming cirrhosis-related complications

2014 World Journal of Hepatology 20;10 (2613-2623)

In patients with chronic liver diseases, identification of significant liver fibrosis and cirrhosis is essential for determining treatment strategies, assessing therapeutic response, and stratifying long-term prognosis. Although liver biopsy remains the reference standard for evaluating the extent of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic liver diseases, several non-invasive methods have been developed as alternatives to liver biopsies. Some of these non-invasive methods have demonstrated clinical accuracy for diagnosing significant fibrosis or cirrhosis in many cross-sectional studies with the histological fibrosis stage as a reference standard. However, non-invasive methods cannot be fully validated through cross-sectional studies since liver biopsy is not a perfect surrogate endpoint marker. Accordingly, recent studies have focused on assessing the performance of non-invasive methods through long-term, longitudinal, follow-up studies with solid clinical endpoints related to advanced stages of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. As a result, current view is that these alternative methods can independently predict future cirrhosis-related complications, such as hepatic decompensation, liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver-related death. The clinical role of non-invasive models seems to be shifting from a simple tool for predicting the extent of fibrosis to a surveillance tool for predicting future liver-related events. In this article, we will summarize recent longitudinal studies of non-invasive methods for predicting forthcoming complications related to liver cirrhosis and discuss the clinical value of currently available non-invasive methods based on evidence from the literature.

Pubmed : 24627597