Cheng-Hao Tseng, Chi-Yang Chang, Lein-Ray Mo, Jaw-Town Lin, Chi-Ming Tai, Daw-Shyong Perng, Chih-Wen Lin, Yao-Chun Hsu
Introduction and aim. In chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients with equivocal indication for antiviral therapy, therapeutic decision currently depends on histopathology of the liver. We aimed to evaluate if acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) in conjunction with aspartate transaminase to platelet ratio index (APRI) and fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) score could replace liver biopsy to indicate treatment for CHB. Material and methods. We prospectively enrolled 101 clinically non-cirrhotic patients whose serum alanine aminotransferase was mildly elevated (1-2 folds above the upper normal limit) despite a high viral load (HBV DNA > 2,000 IU/mL). All participants underwent liver biopsy, and measurement of ARFI, APRI and FIB-4. The ability of the markers to distinguish fibrosis ≥ METAVIR F2 was evaluated. Results. According to histopathology, liver fibrosis was METAVIR F0 in 2 (2.0%), F1 in 43 (42.6%), F2 in 34 (33.7%), F3 in 16 (15.8%), and F4 in 6 (5.9%) patients, and was correlated with ARFI (p = 0.0001), APRI (p = 0.012), and FIB-4 (p = 0.004). The six patients with cirrhosis were included for analysis, and received antiviral therapy. The C statistics of ARFI, APRI, and FIB-4 for fibrosis ≥ F2 were 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59-0.80), 0.62 (95% CI, 0.51-0.73), and 0.64 (0.53- 0.75), respectively. The cut-off values for 95% sensitivity and 95% specificity to identify significant fibrosis were 0.97 m/sec and 1.36 m/sec for ARFI, 0.36 and 1.0 for APRI, 0.63 and 2.22 for FIB-4, respectively. Using a combination of these 3 indices, 44 patients (43.6%) could be spared a liver biopsy procedure. Conclusions. A combination of ARFI, APRI, and FIB-4 may spare some CHB patients with equivocal indication for antiviral treatment a liver biopsy.
Key words. Chronic hepatitis B, Antiviral treatment, Acoustic radiation force impulse, Aspartate transaminase to platelet ratio index, Fibrosis-4 score