Vol. 16 Issue 5
On the cover: The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver
In the not so distant past, organs from hepatitis C infected donors were either discarded or rarely transplanted into HCV viremic recipients - but never allocated to non-infected patients. However, the simplicity, ease and unprecedented success rates of HCV direct acting antiviral regimens has raised the possibility of utilizing such organs in an attempt to expand the donor pool. The thinker trial reports the first of such attempts. However, caution must be exercised prior to the widespread adoption of such strategy.
Ursodeoxycholic acid is the first-line therapy for primary biliary cholangitis. However, a subset of patients fail to show biochemical response. For these patients, adjuvant therapies are warranted. Obeticholic acid was conditionally approved as a second-line drug. Evidence is building up in favor of fibrates, which are available for off-label use.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disorder in industrialized countries and is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular, hepatic and metabolic diseases. Molecular mechanisms on the root of the disrupted lipid homeostasis in NAFLD and potential therapeutic strategies can benefit of in vivo and in vitro experimental models of fatty liver. Here, we describe the high fat diet (HFD)-fed rat in vivo model, and two in vitro models, the primary cultured rat fatty hepatocytes or the FaO rat hepatoma fatty cells, mimicking human NAFLD. Liver steatosis was invariably associated with increased number/size of lipid droplets (LDs) and modulation of expression of genes coding for key genes of lipid metabolism such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (Ppars) and perilipins (Plins). In these models, we tested the anti-steatotic effects of 3,5-L-diiodothyronine (T2), a metabolite of thyroid hormones. T2 markedly reduced triglyceride content and LD size acting on mRNA expression of both Ppars and Plins. T2 also stimulated mitochondrial oxidative metabolism of fatty acids. We conclude that in vivo and especially in vitro models of NAFLD are valuable tools to screen a large number of compounds counteracting the deleterious effect of liver steatosis. Because of the high and negative impact of liver steatosis on human health, ongoing experimental studies from our group are unravelling the ultimate translational value of such cellular models of NAFLD.
Introduction and aim. HCV-infected immigrants contribute to the total prevalence in Canada and other developed nations. Little is known about engagement in care, access to service, and treatment outcomes in recipients of Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) HCV therapies among immigrants living with HCV. Material and methods. HCV patients assessed at The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Clinic between 2000-2016 were identified. Immigration history, race, socioeconomic status, HCV work-up, treatment and outcome data were evaluated. HCV fibrosis assessment, treatment and sustained virologic response (SVR) were compared using logistic regression. Results. 2,335 HCV-infected patients were analyzed with 91% (2114) having data on immigration (23% immigrants). A median 16 years (Quartiles: 5, 29) passed from immigration to referral. Access to diagnostic procedures (Fibroscan/liver biopsy) was greater among immigrants compared to Canadian-born (78% vs. 68%, p = 0.001) and immigrants had an odds ratio of 1.72 (95% CI: 1.18-2.51) of receiving a FibroScan compared to Canadians after adjustment for demographic characteristics, HCV risk factors, and socioeconomic status. No differences in SVR were found between immigrants for IFN recipients. Among DAA recipients, rates of SVR were > 94% among all patients, 93% in Canadian-born and 98% among immigrants (p = 0.14). Conclusion. Nearly 80% of immigrants in this setting had access to fibrosis assessment which was higher than Canadian-born patients. Under half of both groups had initiated HCV therapy. Delays in accessing HCV care represent a missed opportunity to engage, treat and cure HCV patients. HCV screening and health care engagement at the time of immigration would optimize HCV care and therapeutic outcomes.
Introduction and aim. There is almost no data regarding the efficacy of direct acting antivirals (DAAs) therapy in Brazil. The aim of this historical cohort study is to describe the sustained virologic response (SVR) rate among real-world compensated chronic hepatitis C patients in three hepatology centers from Southern Brazil. Materials and methods. Patients were included if they had at least 12 weeks follow-up after the end of therapy. Patients that were lost to follow-up or had treatment prematurely interrupted for any reason were considered treatment failure in this intention to treat analysis. Results. 219 patients were analyzed. Mean age was 57.4 ± 10.9 years and 142/219 (64.8%) were male. Genotype 1 was present in 166 patients (75.8%; 1a 29.2%, 1b 46.6%); Genotypes 2, 3 and 4 in 8 (3.7%), 43 (19.6%) and 2 (0.9%), respectively. 96 (43.8%) were cirrhotic. 134 (59.5%) were treatment experienced. DAA therapies were: sofosbuvir (SOF) + ribavirin (RBV) in 10 patients; SOF + simeprevir (SMV) ± RBV in 73; SOF + pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) + RBV in 6; SOF + daclatasvir (DCV) ± RBV in 51, SOF + ledipasvir (LDV) ± RBV in 61, and paritaprevir/ritonavir + ombitasvir + dasabuvir (PTVr/OBV/DSV) ± RBV in 18 patients. SVR-12 was achieved in 208/219 (95%). Ten patients had virologic failure: 6 cirrhotic, 7 treatment experienced, and 6 either genotype 3 or 1a. No adverse event was attributed to the DAA therapy. Conclusions. Real world experience with DAA therapy in Southern Brazil showed a high rate of SVR and excellent tolerability. Failure to achieve SVR was mainly observed among patients with at least one negative predictor of response: cirrhosis and/or genotypes 1a or 3.
Background. The efficacy and safety of asunaprevir + daclatasvir combination therapy for treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in compensated cirrhotic patients was not fully evaluated in real-world. Outcomes were assessed in cirrhotic patients with sustained viral response (SVR). Material and methods. A total of 145 patients without resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) at L31 and Y93 in the nonstructural protein 5A of HCV genotype 1b, consisting of 49 hepatic cirrhotic and 96 non-cirrhotic patients, were enrolled to the therapy. The patients were treated with 100 mg asunaprevir twice daily plus 60 mg daclatasvir once daily for 24 weeks. The primary endpoint was SVR 24 weeks after completing treatment. In addition, we evaluated the improvement of liver function and development of HCC for 1 year from the end of treatment (EOT). Results. The SVR24 rate was 96% (47/49) in the cirrhotic group and 96% (91/95) in the non-cirrhotic group (p = 0.69). During treatment, grade III/IV adverse events occurred more frequently in cirrhotic patients (10/49; 20.4%) than in non-cirrhotic patients (10/96; 10.4%) (p = 0.099). After EOT, alanine aminotransferase and AFP levels were significantly decreased in cirrhotic patients with SVR. In addition, serum levels of albumin and platelet counts were significantly increased. On the other hand, the rates of HCC recurrence (43%) and development (7.4%) were higher in cirrhotic patients than in the non-cirrhotic patients (12.5% and 1.1%, respectively). Conclusion. RAS-oriented asunaprevir/daclatasvir therapy has a strong anti-HCV effect in patients with HCV genotype 1b. However, careful management is necessary in patients with cirrhosis.
Introduction and aim. Vitamin D has been associated with chronic liver diseases and low vitamin levels may contribute to progression of chronic hepatitis C. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of vitamin D serum levels and GC gene polymorphisms in the severity of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1. Material and methods. Cross-sectional study that enrolled 132 adult patients with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 attended at the outpatient Clinic of Gastroenterology Division at Hospital de Cl?nicas de Porto Alegre. At the time of enrollment patients had a blood withdraw for serum 25(OH)D determination and genotypic analysis of rs7041 and rs4588 polymorphisms in GC gene. None/mild fibrosis was considered as METAVIR F0, F1 and F2 and severe fibrosis as METAVIR F3 and F4. Results. Median 25(OH)D levels in the sample were 19.9 ng/mL (P25-P75: 14.0-29.4). Fifty percent of patients presented vitamin D deficiency (< 20 ng/mL). In stepwise multiple linear regression the variables associated with 25(OH)D levels were blood withdrawn in Winter/spring season, the haplotypes AT/AT + AG/AT of rs7041 and rs4588 and female sex. For evaluation of severe fibrosis, variables associated in logistic regression were age, vitamin D severe deficiency (< 10 ng/mL), glucose levels, BMI and platelets count. Conclusions. Vitamin D levels are associated with severity of liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 patients. Although the rs7041 and rs4588 GC polymorphisms are strong predictors of vitamin D levels, they do not play a direct role in liver fibrosis.
Introduction. The availability of curative hepatitis C therapies has created an opportunity to improve delivery and access. Local providers, government, industry, and community groups in Prince Edward Island developed an innovative province-wide care model. Our goal was to describe the first year of program implementation. Material and methods. Using a community based prospective observational study design, all chronic hepatitis C referrals received from April 2015 to April 2016 were recorded in a database. Primary analysis assessed the time from referral to assessment/treatment, as well as the number of referrals, assessments, and treatment initiations. Secondary objectives included: 1) Treatment effectiveness using intention-to-treat analysis; and 2) Patient treatment experience assessed using demographics, adverse events, and medication adherence. Results. During the study period 242 referrals were received, 123 patients were seen for intake assessments, and 93 initiated direct-acting antiviral therapy based on medical need. This is compared to 4 treatment initiations in the previous 2 years. The median time from assessment to treatment initiation was 3 weeks. Eighty-two of 84 (97.6%, 95% CI 91.7 - 99.7%) patients for whom outcome data were available achieved sustained virologic response at 12 weeks post-treatment; 1 was lost to follow-up and 1 died from an unrelated event. In the voluntary registry, 39.7% of patients reported missed treatment doses. Conclusion. In conclusion, results from the first 12 months of this multi-phase hepatitis C elimination strategy demonstrate improved access to treatment, and high rates of safe engagement and cure for patients living with chronic hepatitis C genotype 1 infections.
Aim. To evaluate the diagnostic value of dynamic contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the differential diagnosis of hepatic angiomyolipoma (HAML) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to clarify the relationship between histopathological features and CT or MRI imaging performances in HAML. Material and methods. Six HAML and 33 non-cirrhotic HCC patients confirmed by histopathology were retrospectively analyzed. The serum biomarkers, CT and MRI examinations were conventionally performed before the confirmatory histological diagnosis. The clinical data from their medical records was also analyzed. Results. Six HAML patients were annotated as two types according to CT and MRI imaging characteristics, including hypovascular type (n = 1) and hypervascular type (n = 5). The imaging performances of the 33 HCC patients were hypervascular type. Moreover, all the 5 hypervascular type HAML patients were misdiagnosed as HCC by CT or MRI. We also found that the hypervascular type of HAML patients contained more vessels and less fatty tissues in histopathology than hypovascular type of HAML patients. However, the clinical features included HCC high risk factors (hepatitis B or C), non-specific symptoms, male and increased serum alpha fetoprotein (AFP) were more common in HCC patients than HAML patients (P < 0.05, respectively). Conclusions. The CT or MRI imaging performances of HAML patients containing more vessels and less fatty tissues in histopathology resemble the imaging performance of HCC patients. These clinical features may be of great help in the differential diagnosis in the current clinical practices.
Introduction. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a recommended curative intent treatment option for patients with early stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We investigated if wait times for RFA were associated with residual tumor, tumor recurrence, need for liver transplantation, or death. Material and methods. We conducted a retrospective study of patients diagnosed with HCC between January 2010 and December 2013 presenting to University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada. All patients receiving curative intent RFA for HCC were included. Multivariable Cox regression was used to determine if wait times were associated with clinical outcomes. Results. 219 patients were included in the study. 72.6% were male and the median age was 62.7 years (IQR 55.6-71). Median tumor size at diagnosis was 21.5 mm (IQR 17-26); median MELD was 8.7 (IQR 7.2-11.4) and 57.1% were Barcelona stage 0. The cause of liver disease was viral hepatitis in 73.5% (Hepatitis B and C). The median time from HCC diagnosis to RFA treatment was 96 days (IQR 75-139). In multivariate analysis, wait time was not associated with requiring liver transplant or tumor recurrence, however, each incremental 30-day wait time was associated with an increased risk of residual tumor (HR = 1.09; 95% CI 1.01-1.19; p = 0.033) as well as death (HR = 1.23; 95% CI 1.11-1.36; p ? 0.001). Conclusion. Incremental 30-day wait times are associated with a 9% increased risk of residual tumor and a 23% increased risk of death. We have identified system gaps where quality improvement measures can be implemented to reduce wait times and allocate resources for future RFA treatment, which may improve both quality and efficiency of HCC care.
Introduction and aim. In 2008 the International autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) Group proposed the simplified diagnostic criteria for this disease. The original cohort study was performed in 11 international centers, but validation studies are scarce in Latin-America. The aim of this study is validate these criteria in Hispanic patients. Material and methods. A retrospective cohort of patients undergoing percutaneous liver biopsy and follow-up of at least 12 months was recruited from a Chilean University hospital. Patients with previous immunosuppressive therapy and liver transplant recipients were excluded. The diagnostic accuracy was analyzed using as gold standard the clinical course during long-term follow-up. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) and area under the ROC curve (AUROC) were calculated. Results. Four hundred eighty one patients were evaluated, 294 were included. 218 (74.15%) were female, mean age 48.5 (± 12.3) years, mean follow-up 34 (± 18) months. 66 patients had AIH or overlap syndrome (22.45%), 96 (32.65%) non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, 40 (13.61%) primary biliary cholangitis, 31 (10.54%) hepatitis C, 8 (2.72%) hepatitis B, 53 (18.02%) other etiologies. The AUROC for AIH simplified criteria was 0.976. Using a cutoff ≥ 6 and ≥ 7 points, the sensitivity was 86.4% and 54.6%; specificity, 98.7% and 99.6%; PPV, 95% and 97.3%; and NPV, 96.2% and 88.6%, respectively. Conclusion. Simplified criteria for the diagnosis of AIH have a high accuracy in our Chilean-Hispanic cohort. The female gender is strongly associated to AIH and could help in difficult cases. Further studies with a prospective design are necessary to confirm these observations.
Background: Despite the circulating levels of PTX3 were related to the severity of various diseases, there are no studies investigating its role in patients with liver cirrhosis. We aimed to study PTX3 levels in patients with liver cirrhosis. Material and methods. A prospective cohort study included 130 patients hospitalized for acute decompensation of liver cirrhosis, 29 stable cirrhotic outpatients and 32 healthy controls evaluated in a tertiary hospital in Southern Brasil. Results. The median PTX3 level was significantly higher in stable cirrhotic patients compared to controls (2.6 vs. 1.1 ng/mL; p < 0.001), hospitalized cirrhotic patients compared to controls (3.8 vs. 1.1 ng/mL; p < 0.001), and hospitalized cirrhotic patients compared to stable cirrhotic patients (3.8 vs. 2.6 ng/mL; p = 0.001). A positive correlation was found between PTX3 and serum creatinine (r = 0.220; p = 0.012), Chronic Liver Failure - Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (CLIF-SOFA) (r = 0.220; p = 0.010), MELD (r = 0.279; p = 0.001) and Child-Pugh score (r = 0.224; p = 0.010). Significantly higher levels of PTX3 were observed in patients on admission with ACLF (8.9 vs. 3.1 ng/mL; p < 0.001) and MELD score ≥ 20 (6.6 vs. 3.4 ng/mL; p = 0.002). Death within 90 days occurred in 30.8% of patients and was associated with higher levels of PTX3 (5.3 vs. 3.4 ng/mL; p = 0.009). The probability of Kaplan-Meier survival was 77.0% in patients with PTX-3 < 5.3 ng mL (upper tercile) and 53.5% in those with PTX3 ≥ 5.3 ng/mL (p = 0.002). Conclusion. These results indicate the potential for use of PTX3 as an inflammatory biomarker for the prognosis of patients with hepatic cirrhosis.
Introduction and aims. Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is common in patients with cirrhosis. We aimed to assess the presence of AI in stable patients with cirrhosis using the gold-standard insulin tolerance test (ITT) and to propose an algorithm for screening AI in these patients. Material and methods. We studied 40 stable patients with cirrhosis. We determined the basal total (BTC) and peak cortisol (PTC) levels. Using the ITT, we defined AI as a serum PTC < 18 μg/dL at 30 min after insulin-induced hypoglycemia. We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of BTC in different stages of liver disease to discriminate between those with NAF and AI. Results. Of the 40 patients, 24 (60%) presented with AI. Child-Pugh and MELD scores differed between the NAF and AI groups (Child-Pugh: NAF 7.2 ± 1.7 vs. AI 8.8 ± 2.4, p = 0.024 and MELD: NAF 9.9 ± 2.5 vs. AI 14.9 ± 6.3, p = 0.001). The BTC level was lower in patients with AI than in those with NAF (7.2 ± 2.4 vs. 12.5 ± 5.2, p < 0.001). A BTC value ≤ 10.0 μg/dL had a 96% sensitivity (negative predictive value: 90%) for identifying AI. This cutoff value (BTC ≤ 10.0 μg/dL) provided 100% specificity (positive predictive value: 100%) in patients with advanced liver disease (Child-Pugh ≥ 9 or MELD ≥ 12). Conclusion. An algorithm including the use of BTC and the severity of liver disease may be a useful and simple method for assessing adrenal function in stable patients with cirrhosis.
Introduction. Percutaneous liver biopsy (LB) is the gold standard method for evaluation and management of patients with liver disease. The purpose of this study was to characterize pediatric patients undergoing LB at British Columbia Children's Hospital, and to determine the rate and timing of complications following the procedure. Material and methods. The medical records of all pediatric patients who underwent LB during a six-year retrospective study were reviewed to collect demographic and procedure-related data. Results. 223 LBs were performed, and 179 of these biopsies were percutaneous or transjugular. Elevated liver enzymes and cholestasis together accounted for almost 70% of the indications for LB, and the histological analysis of liver tissue yielded a specific diagnosis in 89 % of the cases. There were no deaths and no major complications related to LB. The most frequent minor complication was pain (59% of LBs) and the other complications were bleeding-related and classified as minor. The vast majority of complications (88%) were recognized within 8 h of the LB. Conclusions. LB is a valuable and safe procedure in pediatric patients with a low rate of complications. Pediatric patients can be discharged home safely should no complications occur within the first 8-12 h after the procedure.
Background. 373 black participants had elevated screening and post-screening serum ferritin (SF) (> 300 μg/L men; > 200 μg/L women). Material and methods. We retrospectively studied SF and post-screening age; sex; body mass index; transferrin saturation (TS); ALT; AST; GGT; elevated C-reactive protein; ß-thalassemia; neutrophils; lymphocytes; monocytes; platelets; metacarpophalangeal joint hypertrophy; hepatomegaly; splenomegaly; diabetes; HFE H63D positivity; iron/alcohol intakes; and blood/erythrocyte transfusion units. Liver disease was defined as elevated ALT or AST. We computed correlations of SF and TS with: age; body mass index; ALT; AST; GGT; C-reactive protein; blood cell counts; and iron/alcohol. We compared participants with SF > 1,000 and ≤ 1,000 μg/L and performed regressions on SF. Results. There were 237 men (63.5%). Mean age was 55 ± 13 (SD) y. 143 participants had liver disease (62 hepatitis B or C). There were significant correlations of SF: TS, ALT, AST, GGT, and monocytes (positive); and SF and TS with platelets (negative). 22 participants with SF > 1,000 μg/L had significantly higher median TS, ALT, and AST, and prevalences of anemia and transfusion > 10 units; and lower median platelets. Regression on SF revealed significant associations: TS; male sex; age; GGT; transfusion units (positive); and splenomegaly (negative) (p < 0.0001, 0.0016, 0.0281, 0.0025, 0.0001, and 0.0096, respectively). Five men with SF > 1,000 μg/L and elevated TS had presumed primary iron overload (hemochromatosis). Four participants had transfusion iron overload. Conclusion. Persistent hyperferritinemia in 373 black adults was associated with male sex, age, TS, GGT, and transfusion. 2.4% had primary iron overload (hemochromatosis) or transfusion iron overload.
Associated liver partition and portal vein ligation for staged hepatectomy (ALPPS) has emerged as an alternative for patients with bilobar colorectal liver metastasis and a small future liver remnant (FLR). In cases of extensive disease, ALPPS can be performed, leaving only one segment of the liver as FLR. We describe a case of monosegmental ALPPS using segment 4 as FLR. In conclusion, ALPPS should be reserved for a selected group of patients. Monosegmental ALPPS is feasible, but should be performed by hepatobiliary surgeons in specialized centers.
Drug induced liver injury is a common cause of acute liver failure (ALF). While most of these cases are due to dose dependent hepatotoxicity with acetaminophen, idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is responsible for about 15% cases of ALF. Antibiotics are the most common cause of idiosyncratic DILI as well as DILI induced ALF. Etodolac is a selective cycloxygenase- 2 (COX -2) inhibitor non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory in musculoskeletal diseases. Severe liver impairment is extremely rare. Till date, only 3 cases of ALF related to etodolac have been reported in the literature. Here we report two cases with a unique presentation of ALF occurring due to DILI caused by etodolac, as diagnosed by Roussel Uclaf Causality Assessment Method (RUCAM).