1Shunsuke Nojiri, Kei Fujiwara, Noboru Shinkai, Mio Endo, Takashi Joh, Department of Gastroenterology and Metabolism, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya, Aichi 467-8601, Japan.
To evaluate the efficacy of ethoxibenzyl-magnetic resonance imaging (EOB-MRI) as a predictor of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development.
Between August 2008 and 2009, we studied 142 hepatitis C virus-infected patients (male 70, female 72), excluding those with HCC or a past history, who underwent EOB-MRI in our hospital. The EOB-MRI index [liver-intervertebral disc ratio (LI)] was calculated as: (post-liver intensity/post-intervertebral disc intensity)/(pre-liver intensity/pre-intervertebral disc intensity).
The median follow-up period was 3.1 years and the patients were observed until the end of the study period (31 December, 2012). In the follow-up period, HCC occurred in 21 patients. The cumulative occurrence rates were 2.1%, 9.1%, and 14.1% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively. Using the optimal cut-off value of LI 1.46, on univariate analysis, age, aspartate amino transferase (AST), α-fetoprotein (AFP) ≥ 10, albumin, total cholesterol, prothrombin time, platelets, and LI < 1.46 were identified as independent factors, but on multivariate analysis, LI < 1.46: risk ratio 6.05 (1.34-27.3, P = 0.019) and AFP ≥ 10: risk ratio 3.1 (1.03-9.35, P = 0.045) were identified as independent risk factors. LI and Fib-4 index have higher area under the receiver operating characteristic curves than other representative fibrosis evaluation methods, such as Forn's index and AST-to-platelet ratio index.
LI is associated with the risk of HCC occurrence in hepatitis C patients. LI may be a substitute for liver biopsy when evaluating this risk and its combined use with Fib-4 is a better predictive method of HCC progression.