Comparison of non-invasive assessment to diagnose liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis B and C patients
Objective. Chronic viral hepatitis B and C cause liver fibrosis, leading to cirrhosis. Fibrosis assessment is essential to establish prognosis and treatment indication. We compared seven non-invasive tests, separately and in combination, in chronic hepatitis patients to detect early stages of fibrosis according to the Metavir score in liver biopsy. Material and methods. Galactose and methacetin breath tests (GBT and MBT), biomarkers (hyaluronic acid (HA), aspartate aminotransferase platelet ratio index (APRI), FibroTest, and Fib-4) and transient elastography (TE) were evaluated in 89 patients. Additionally, 31 healthy controls were included for evaluation of breath tests and biomarkers. Results. Serum markers (HA, APRI, FibroTest, and Fib-4) and elastography significantly distinguished non-cirrhotic (F0123) from cirrhotic (F4) patients (p < 0.001, p = 0.015, p < 0.001, p = 0.005, p = 0.006, respectively). GBT, HA, APRI, FibroTest, Fib-4, and TE detected F01 from F234 (p = 0.04, p = 0.011, p = 0.009, p < 0.001, p < 0.001, and p < 0.001, respectively). A combination of different tests (TE, HA, and FibroTest) improved the performance statistically, area under the curve (AUC) = 0.87 for F234, 0.92 for F34, and 0.90 for F4. Conclusion. HA, APRI, FibroTest, Fib-4, and TE reliably distinguish non-cirrhotic and cirrhotic patients. Except for MBT, all tests discriminate between mild and moderate fibrosis. As single tests: FibroTest, Fib-4, and TE were the most accurate for detecting early fibrosis; combining different non-invasive tests increased the accuracy for detection of liver fibrosis to such an extent and thus might be acceptable to replace liver biopsy.