Context: Guidelines recommend blood-based fibrosis biomarkers to identify advanced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is particularly prevalent in patients with obesity. Objective: To study whether the degree of obesity affects the performance of liver fibrosis biomarkers in NAFLD. Design: Cross-sectional cohort study comparing simple fibrosis scores [Fibrosis-4 Index (FIB-4); NAFLD Fibrosis Score (NFS); aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index; BARD (body mass index, aspartate-to-alanine aminotransferase ratio, diabetes); Hepamet Fibrosis Score (HFS)] and newer scores incorporating neo-epitope biomarkers PRO-C3 (ADAPT, FIBC3) or cytokeratin 18 (MACK-3). Setting: Tertiary referral center. Patients: We recruited overweight/obese patients from endocrinology (n=307) and hepatology (n=71) clinics undergoing a liver biopsy [median body mass index (BMI) 40.3 (interquartile range 36.0-44.7) kg/m2]. Additionally, we studied 859 less obese patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD to derive BMI-adjusted cutoffs for NFS. Main Outcome Measures: Biomarker area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC), sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values to identify histological stage ≥F3 fibrosis or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with ≥F2 fibrosis [fibrotic nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)]. Results: The scores with an AUROC≥0.85 to identify ≥F3 fibrosis were ADAPT, FIB-4, FIBC3, and HFS. For fibrotic NASH, the best predictors were MACK-3 and ADAPT. The specificities of NFS, BARD, and FIBC3 deteriorated as a function of BMI. We derived and validated new cutoffs for NFS to rule in/out ≥F3 fibrosis in groups with BMIs <30.0, 30.0 to 39.9, and ≥40.0 kg/m2. This optimized its performance at all levels of BMI. Sequentially combining FIB-4 with ADAPT or FIBC3 increased specificity to diagnose ≥F3 fibrosis. Conclusions: In obese patients, the best-performing fibrosis biomarkers are ADAPT and the inexpensive FIB-4, which are unaffected by BMI. The widely used NFS loses specificity in obese individuals, which may be corrected with BMI-adjusted cutoffs.

Obesity Modifies the Performance of Fibrosis Biomarkers in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Giorgio Soardo;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Context: Guidelines recommend blood-based fibrosis biomarkers to identify advanced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is particularly prevalent in patients with obesity. Objective: To study whether the degree of obesity affects the performance of liver fibrosis biomarkers in NAFLD. Design: Cross-sectional cohort study comparing simple fibrosis scores [Fibrosis-4 Index (FIB-4); NAFLD Fibrosis Score (NFS); aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index; BARD (body mass index, aspartate-to-alanine aminotransferase ratio, diabetes); Hepamet Fibrosis Score (HFS)] and newer scores incorporating neo-epitope biomarkers PRO-C3 (ADAPT, FIBC3) or cytokeratin 18 (MACK-3). Setting: Tertiary referral center. Patients: We recruited overweight/obese patients from endocrinology (n=307) and hepatology (n=71) clinics undergoing a liver biopsy [median body mass index (BMI) 40.3 (interquartile range 36.0-44.7) kg/m2]. Additionally, we studied 859 less obese patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD to derive BMI-adjusted cutoffs for NFS. Main Outcome Measures: Biomarker area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC), sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values to identify histological stage ≥F3 fibrosis or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with ≥F2 fibrosis [fibrotic nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)]. Results: The scores with an AUROC≥0.85 to identify ≥F3 fibrosis were ADAPT, FIB-4, FIBC3, and HFS. For fibrotic NASH, the best predictors were MACK-3 and ADAPT. The specificities of NFS, BARD, and FIBC3 deteriorated as a function of BMI. We derived and validated new cutoffs for NFS to rule in/out ≥F3 fibrosis in groups with BMIs <30.0, 30.0 to 39.9, and ≥40.0 kg/m2. This optimized its performance at all levels of BMI. Sequentially combining FIB-4 with ADAPT or FIBC3 increased specificity to diagnose ≥F3 fibrosis. Conclusions: In obese patients, the best-performing fibrosis biomarkers are ADAPT and the inexpensive FIB-4, which are unaffected by BMI. The widely used NFS loses specificity in obese individuals, which may be corrected with BMI-adjusted cutoffs.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1230544
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