- 1Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, University College London, Division of Medicine and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
- 2First Department of Internal Medicine, San Matteo Hospital Foundation, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
- 3Department of Public Health and Medical Statistics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
Background and aims: The rising incidence of chronic liver disease (CLD) has increased the need for early recognition. This systematic review assesses the diagnostic accuracy of the enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF) test in cases of advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis due to multiple etiologies in at-risk populations.
Methods: Studies evaluating the ELF accuracy in identifying advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis, defined as METAVIR stage F ≥ 3 and F = 4 or equivalent, in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcohol liver disease (ALD), or viral hepatitis were included. Liver biopsy was used as the reference standard. Medline and Embase databases were searched. The QUADAS-2 tool was used as a framework to assess risk of bias and applicability. The area under the receiver operator curve (AUROC) was extracted as a summary measure of diagnostic accuracy.
Results: Thirty-six studies were included: 11 hepatitis C, 4 hepatitis B, 9 NAFLD, 2 ALD, and 10 mixed. The ELF test showed good diagnostic performance in detecting advanced fibrosis in patients with viral hepatitis (AUROC 0.69 to 0.98) and excellent performance in NAFLD (AUROC 0.78 to 0.97) and ALD (AUROC from 0.92 to 0.94). There is also evidence of good diagnostic performance for detecting cirrhosis in patients with viral hepatitis (AUROC 0.63 to 0.99), good performance in NAFLD (AUROC 0.85 to 0.92), and excellent performance in patients with ALD (AUROC 0.93 to 0.94).
Conclusion: This systematic review supports the use of the ELF test across a range of CLD as a possible alternative to liver biopsy in selected cases.