1Arnold O. Beckman High School , Irvine , California , USA.
2Department of Medicine , Cedars Sinai Medical Center , Los Angeles , California , USA.
3California Liver Institute , Pasadena , California , USA.
4Department of Pathology , Cedars-Sinai Medical Center , Los Angeles , California , USA.
5Comprehensive Transplant Center , Cedars-Sinai Medical Center , Los Angeles , California , USA.
6Division of Gastroenterology , University of California at San Diego , La Jolla , California , USA.
7Karsh Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology , Cedars-Sinai Medical Center , Los Angeles , California , USA.
8Arizona Liver Health , Phoenix , Arizona , USA.
9Oxford University, Pinnacle Research Center , Live Oak , Texas , USA.
Background and aims: We assessed the performance of machine learning (ML) models in identifying clinically significant NAFLD-associated liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Approach and results: We implemented ML models including logistic regression (LR), random forest (RF), and artificial neural network to predict histological stages of fibrosis using 17 demographic/clinical features in 1370 patients with NAFLD who underwent liver biopsy, FibroScan, and labs within a 6-month period at multiple U.S. centers. Histological stages of fibrosis (≥F2, ≥F3, and F4) were predicted using ML, FibroScan liver stiffness measurements, and Fibrosis-4 index (FIB-4). NASH with significant fibrosis (NAS ≥ 4 + ≥F2) was assessed using ML, FibroScan-AST (FAST) score, FIB-4, and NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS). We used 80% of the cohort to train and 20% to test the ML models. For ≥F2, ≥F3, F4, and NASH + NAS ≥ 4 + ≥F2, all ML models, especially RF, had primarily higher accuracy and AUC compared with FibroScan, FIB-4, FAST, and NFS. AUC for RF versus FibroScan and FIB-4 for ≥F2, ≥F3, and F4 were (0.86 vs. 0.81, 0.78), (0.89 vs. 0.83, 0.82), and (0.89 vs. 0.86, 0.85), respectively. AUC for RF versus FAST, FIB-4, and NFS for NASH + NAS ≥ 4 + ≥F2 were (0.80 vs. 0.77, 0.66, 0.63). For NASH + NAS ≥ 4 + ≥F2, all ML models had lower/similar percentages within the indeterminate zone compared with FIB-4 and NFS. Overall, ML models performed better in sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value compared with traditional noninvasive tests.
Conclusions: ML models performed better overall than FibroScan, FIB-4, FAST, and NFS. ML could be an effective tool for identifying clinically significant liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in patients with NAFLD.