1Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, NC, USA.
2Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.
3Liver Cell Biology, Centenary Institute, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
4Inova Research Center, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, Falls Church, VA, USA.
5Infectious Diseases Therapeutic Area Unit, GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA.
6Gilead Sciences, Foster City, CA, USA.
7Hepatic Pathology Consultation and Research, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA, USA.
Assessment of fibrosis progression in chronic liver disease relies upon non-invasive tools and changes in semi-quantitative histopathology scores that may not be reliable.
To assess the diagnostic performance of the FibroSURE (FS) index and collagen/alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) morphometry in relation to longitudinal changes in fibrosis on paired biopsies.
The study cohort included 201 chronic hepatitis C (CHC) nonresponders enrolled in a prior phase II anti-fibrotic study. Serum FS and paired biopsies, with both collagen and α-SMA morphometry, were evaluated at baseline and week 52.
Study patients were mostly male (67%) and Caucasian (77%), with Ishak stages 2 (n = 79), 3 (n = 88) and 4 (n = 30), excluded (n = 4 stage 1 or 5). Mean biopsy length was 22.9 mm. For baseline Ishak 2/3 vs. 4, there were no significant differences in AUROCs for collagen (0.71), SMA (0.66) or FS (0.70). At week 52, 62% of patients had no change in Ishak stage, but collagen/α-SMA increased by 34-51% (P < 0.0001), and FS decreased by 5% (P = 0.008). Among the 33% of patients with +/-1 Ishak stage change, FS changes were not significant, but α-SMA increased 29-72%, and collagen increased by 12-38% (P = 0.01 for +1 only).
Longitudinal changes in collagen and α-SMA morphometry are apparent prior to change in histological stage or FibroSURE in CHC nonresponders with intermediate fibrosis. This likely reflects quantitative morphological differences that are not detected by routine histological staging or serum markers such as FibroSURE.