Our main objective was to improve non-invasive fibrosis staging accuracy by resolving the limits of previous methods via new test combinations. Our secondary objectives were to improve staging precision, by developing a detailed fibrosis classification, and reliability (personalized accuracy) determination.
All patients (729) included in the derivation population had chronic hepatitis C, liver biopsy, 6 blood tests and Fibroscan. Validation populations included 1584 patients.
The most accurate combination was provided by using most markers of FibroMeter and Fibroscan results targeted for significant fibrosis, i.e. 'E-FibroMeter'. Its classification accuracy (91.7%) and precision (assessed by F difference with Metavir: 0.62 ± 0.57) were better than those of FibroMeter (84.1%, P < 0.001; 0.72 ± 0.57, P < 0.001), Fibroscan (88.2%, P = 0.011; 0.68 ± 0.57, P = 0.020), and a previous CSF-SF classification of FibroMeter + Fibroscan (86.7%, P < 0.001; 0.65 ± 0.57, P = 0.044). The accuracy for fibrosis absence (F0) was increased, e.g. from 16.0% with Fibroscan to 75.0% with E-FibroMeter (P < 0.001). Cirrhosis sensitivity was improved, e.g. E-FibroMeter: 92.7% vs. Fibroscan: 83.3%, P = 0.004. The combination improved reliability by deleting unreliable results (accuracy <50%) observed with a single test (1.2% of patients) and increasing optimal reliability (accuracy ≥85%) from 80.4% of patients with Fibroscan (accuracy: 90.9%) to 94.2% of patients with E-FibroMeter (accuracy: 92.9%), P < 0.001. The patient rate with 100% predictive values for cirrhosis by the best combination was twice (36.2%) that of the best single test (FibroMeter: 16.2%, P < 0.001).
The new test combination increased: accuracy, globally and especially in patients without fibrosis, staging precision, cirrhosis prediction, and even reliability, thus offering improved fibrosis staging.