Vol. 16 Issue 1
On the cover: The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver
Thrombocytopenia has previously been reported after right lobe resection for organ donation. The mechanism(s) of low platelets after right hepatectomy is unclear and several hypotheses have been proposed including a decrease in thrombopoietin, and hepatic insufficiency resulting in relative portal hypertension following hepatic resection. However, there has previously not been any comparison between patients who undergo hepatic resection for neoplasia vs. for living organ donation. We compared platelet values in the postoperative period of patients who underwent right hepatectomy for living donation (n = 93) to those who underwent hepatectomy for neoplasia (n = 21). There was no significant difference in platelet values between the two groups at one month (291.2 ± 100 vs. 285.73 ± 159, p = NS), three months (223.8 ± 61 vs. 185.27 ± 80, p = NS) and at 12 months (212 ± 44 vs. 191 ± 60, p = NS). We conclude that thrombocytopenia is not uncommon following hepatic lobe resection, and is unaffected by the indication for hepatectomy.
Background. Hepatitis B virus infection and chronic kidney disease are prevalent and remain a major public health problem worldwide. It remains unclear how infection with hepatitis B virus impacts on the development and progression of chronic kidney disease. Aim. To evaluate the effect of infection with HBV on the risk of chronic kidney disease in the general population. Material and methods. We conducted a systematic review of the published medical literature to determine if hepatitis B infection is associated with increased likelihood of chronic kidney disease. We used the random effects model of DerSimonian and Laird to generate a summary estimate of the relative risk for chronic kidney disease (defined by reduced glomerular filtration rate and/or detectable proteinuria) with hepatitis B virus across the published studies. Meta-regression and stratified analysis were also conducted. Results. We identified 16 studies (n = 394,664 patients) and separate meta-analyses were performed according to the outcome. The subset of longitudinal studies addressing ESRD (n = 2; n = 91,656) gave a pooled aHR 3.87 (95% CI, 1.48; 6.25, P < 0.0001) among HBV-infected patients and no heterogeneity was recorded. In meta-regression, we noted the impact of male (P = 0.006) and duration of follow- up (P = 0.007) upon the adjusted hazard ratio of incidence of chronic kidney disease (including end-stage renal disease). No relationship occurred between HBV positive status and prevalent chronic disease (n = 7, n = 109,889 unique patients); adjusted odds ratio, were 1.07 (95% CI, 0.89; 1.25) and 0.93 (95% CI, 0.76; 1.10), respectively. Conclusions. HBV infection is possibly associated with a risk of developing reduced glomerular filtration rate in the general population; no link between HBV sero-positive status and frequency of chronic kidney disease or proteinuria was noted in cross-sectional surveys.
Liver fibrosis resulting from chronic liver injury are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Among causes of hepatic fibrosis, viral infection is most common (hepatitis B and C). In addition, obesity rates worldwide have accelerated the risk of liver injury due to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Also liver fibrosis is associated with the consumption of alcohol, or autoimmune hepatitis and chronic cholangiophaties. The response of hepatocytes to inflammation plays a decisive role in the physiopathology of hepatic fibrosis, which involves the recruitment of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cells such as monocytes and macrophages. As well as the production of other cytokines and chemokines, which increase the stimulus of hepatic stellate cells by activating proinflammatory cells. The aim of this review is to identify the therapeutic options available for the treatment of the liver fibrosis, enabling the prevention of progression when is detected in time.
Background. There are only few reports about travel-associated, imported tropical hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotype 1 infections within Western travellers. We describe the clinical course of a single outbreak of hepatitis E in a German travellers group returning from India and compare the results of two commercial HEV-seroassays. Material and methods. After identifying hepatitis E in an index patient returning from a journey to India all 24 members of this journey were tested for anti-HEV-IgG and IgM using two commercial seroassays (Wantai and Mikrogen), for HEV-RNA by PCR and HEV-Ag by an antigen-assay (Wantai). Results. 5/24 (21%) individuals were viraemic with viral loads between 580-4,800,000 IU/mL. Bilirubin and ALT levels in these patients ranged from 1.3-14.9 mg/dL (mean 7.3 mg/dL, SD 5.6 mg/dL) and 151-4,820 U/L (mean 1,832U/L, SD 1842U/L), respectively and showed significant correlations with viral loads (r = 0.863, p < 0.001; r = 0.890, p < 0.001). No risk factor for food-borne HEV-transmission was identified. All viraemic patients (5/5) tested positive for anti-HEV-IgG and IgM in the Wantai-assay but only 4/5 in the Mikrogen-assay. Wantai-HEV-antigen-assay was negative in all patients. Six months later all previously viraemic patients tested positive for anti-HEV-IgG and negative for IgM in both assays. However, two non-viremic individuals who initially tested Wantai-IgM-positive stayed positive indicating false positive results. Conclusions. Despite the exact number of exposed individuals could not be determined HEV genotype 1 infections have a high manifestation rate of more than 20%.The Wantai-antigen-test failed, the Wantai-IgMrapid- test and the Mikrogen-IgM-recomblot showed a better performance but still they cannot replace real-time PCR for diagnosing ongoing HEV-infections.
Approximately 10% of individuals do not respond to hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination, i.e. non-responders (NRs). We aimed to investigate the association of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-12B gene polymorphisms with responsiveness to the HBV vaccine in Korean infants. Among 300 healthy infants (9-12 month), SNPs for the IL-4 gene (rs2243250, rs2070874, and rs2227284) and for the IL-12B gene (rs3213094 and rs17860508) were compared between subgroups in terms of the response to HBV vaccination. The percentages of NRs (< 10 mIU/mL), low-titer responders (LRs, 10-100 mIU/mL), and high-titer responders (HRs, ≥ 100 mIU/mL) were 20.3%, 37.7% and 42.0%, respectively. No SNPs differed in frequency between NRs and responders or between LRs and HRs. We divided the subjects into two groups according to the time interval from the 3rd dose of HBV vaccination to Ab quantification: > 6 months from the 3rd dose (n = 87) and ≤ 6 months from the 3rd dose (n = 213). In the ≤ 6 month subjects, rs2243250C and rs2227284G were significantly frequent in the lower-titer individuals (NRs + LR) than HRs (40.1 vs. 25.9%, p = 0.014 and 45.1 vs. 33.0%, p = 0.018, respectively), and the rs2243250C and rs2227284G frequencies were significantly different among the three subgroups (13.2 vs. 26.9 vs. 25.9%, p = 0.040 and 15.5 vs. 29.6 vs. 33.0%, p = 0.038, respectively). In conclusion, those results suggest that IL-4 gene polymorphisms may play a role in the response to the HBV vaccine in Korean infants.
Background. Daclatasvir and asunaprevir dual therapy is approved for the treatment of HCV genotype 1b infection in several countries. Aim. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of daclatasvir and asunaprevir dual therapy in Turkish patients. Material and methods. Sixty-one patients with HCV genotype 1b were enrolled in the Turkish early access program. Most of the patients were in difficult-to-treat category. Patients were visited at each 4 week throughout the follow-up period. Laboratory findings and adverse events were recorded at each visit. Results. Fifty-seven of 61 enrolled patients completed 24 weeks of treatment. Two patients died as a result of underlying diseases at 12-14th weeks of treatment. Two patients stopped the treatment early as a consequence of virological breakthrough, and 2 patients had viral relapse at the post-treatment follow-up. Overall SVR12 rates were 90% (55/61) and 93.2% (55/59) according to intention-to-treat (ITT) and per protocol (PP) analysis respectively. In ITT analysis, SVR12 was achieved by 93% (13/14) in relapsers, 80% (12/15) in interferon-ineligible patients and 91% (20/22) in previous nonresponder patients. SVR12 rates were 86.5% and 91.4% in patients with cirrhosis according to ITT and PP analysis respectively. SVR12 was 95.8% in non-cirrhosis group in both analysis. Patients with previous protease inhibitor experience had an SVR12 of 87.5%. Common adverse events developed in 28.8% of patients. There were no treatment related severe adverse event or grade-4 laboratory abnormality. Conclusions. Daclatasvir and asunaprevir dual therapy is found to be effective and safe in difficult-to-treat Turkish patients with HCV genotype 1b infection.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. We have previously shown that hepatic reticuloendothelial system (RES) iron deposition is associated with an advanced degree of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in humans. In this study, we aimed to determine differentially expressed genes related to iron overload, inflammation and oxidative stress pathways, with the goal of identifying factors associated with NASH progression. Seventy five patients with NAFLD were evaluated for their biochemical parameters and their liver tissue analyzed for NASH histological characteristics. Gene expression analysis of pathways related to iron homeostasis, inflammation and oxidative stress was performed using real-time PCR. Gene expression was compared between subjects based on disease status and presence of hepatic iron staining. We observed increased gene expression of hepcidin (HAMP) (2.3 fold, p = 0.027), transmembrane serine proteinase 6 (TMPRSS6) (8.4 fold, p = 0.003), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) (5.5 fold, p = 0.004), proinflammatory cytokines; IL-1β (2.7 fold, p = 0.046) and TNF-α (3.8 fold, p = 0.001) in patients with NASH. TMPRSS6, a negative regulator of HAMP, is overexpressed in patients with NASH and HIF1α (hypoxia inducible factor-1) is downregulated. NAFLD patients with hepatic iron deposition exhibited higher hepcidin expression (3.1 fold, p = 0.04) but lower expression of cytokines. In conclusion, we observed elevated hepatic HAMP expression in patients with NASH and in NAFLD patients who had hepatic iron deposition, while proinflammatory cytokines displayed elevated expression only in patients with NASH, suggesting a regulatory role for hepcidin in NAFL to NASH transition and in mitigating inflammatory responses.
Background and aims. Pegylated interferon (Peg-INF) and ribavirin (RBV) based therapy is suboptimal and poorly tolerated. We evaluated the safety, tolerability and efficacy of a 24-week course of sofosbuvir plus daclatasvir without ribavirin for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) recurrence after liver transplantation (LT) in both HCV-monoinfected and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-HCV coinfected patients. Material and methods. We retrospectively evaluated 22 consecutive adult LT recipients (16 monoinfected and 6 coinfected with HIV) who received a 24-week course of sofosbuvir plus daclatasvir treatment under an international compassionate access program. Results. Most patients were male (86%), with a median age of 58 years (r:58-81y). Median time from LT to treatment onset was 70 months (r: 20-116 m). HCV genotype 1b was the most frequent (45%), 55% had not responded to previous treatment with Peg-INF and RBV and 14% to regiments including first generation protease inhibitors. Fifty-six percent of the patients had histologically proven cirrhosis and 6 had ascites at baseline. All patients completed the 24-week treatment course without significant side effects except for one episode of severe bradicardya, with only minor adjustments in immunosuppressive treatment in some cases. Viral suppression was very rapid with undetectable HCV-RNA in all patients at 12 weeks. All 22 patients achieved a sustained virological response 12 weeks after treatment completion. Conclusion. The combination of sofosbuvir plus daclatasvir without ribavirin is a safe and effective treatment of HCV recurrence after LT in both monoinfected and HIV-coinfected patients, including those with decompensated cirrhosis.
The use of calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) after liver transplantation is associated with post-transplant nephrotoxicity. Conversion to mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) monotherapy improves renal function, but is related to graft rejection in some recipients. Our aim was to identify variables associated with rejection after conversion to MMF monotherapy. Conversion was attempted in 40 liver transplant recipients. Clinical variables were determined and peripheral mononuclear blood cells were immunophenotyped during a 12-month follow-up. Conversion was classified as successful (SC) if rejection did not occur during the follow-up. MMF conversion was successful with 28 patients (70%) and was associated with higher glomerular filtration rates at the end of study. It also correlated with increased time elapsed since transplantation, low baseline CNI levels (Tacrolimus ≤ 6.5 ng/mL or Cyclosporine ≤ 635 ng/mL) and lower frequency of tacrolimus use. The only clinical variable independently related to SC in multivariate analysis was low baseline CNI levels (p = 0.02, OR: 6.93, 95%, CI: 1.3-29.7). Mean baseline fluorescent intensity of FOXP3+ T cells was significantly higher among recipients with SC. In conclusion, this study suggests that baseline CNI levels can be used to identify recipients with higher probability of SC to MMF monotherapy. Clinicaltrials.gov identification: NCT01321112.
Background. Sarcopenia is a complication and independent risk factor for mortality in patients with liver cirrhosis. Aim. To assess the prevalence and influence of sarcopenia on overall survival in a cohort of cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma managed in a tertiary center. Material and methods. Abdominal computed tomography of 92 consecutive hepatocellular carcinoma cirrhotic patients, enrolled and followed from 2004 to 2014, were retrospectively studied with a software analyzing the cross-sectional areas of muscles at third lumbar vertebra level. Data was normalized for height, skeletal muscle index (SMI) calculated and presence of Sarcopenia measured. Sarcopenia was defined by SMI ? 41 cm2/m2 for women and ? 53 cm2/m2 for men with body mass index (BMI) ? 25, and ? 43 cm2/m2 for men and women with BMI < 25, respectively. Results. Median age at diagnosis was 71.9 years (30.7-86.4) and BMI 24.7 (17.5-36.7), comparable in women 23.1, (17.5-36.7) and men 24.7 (18.4-36.7). A class of CHILD score and BCLC A prevailed (55.4% and 41.3%, respectively); metastatic disease was found in 12% of cases. Sarcopenia was present in 40.2% of cases, mostly in females (62.9%; p = 0.005). Mean overall survival was reduced in sarcopenic patients, 66 (95% CI 47 to 84) vs. 123 (95% CI 98 to 150) weeks (p = 0.001). At multivariate analysis, sarcopenia was a predictor of reduced overall survival, independent of age (p = 0.0027). Conclusions. This retrospective study shows high prevalence of sarcopenia among cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Presence of sarcopenia was identified as independent predictor of reduced overall survival. As easily measurable by CT, sarcopenia should be determined for prognostic purposes in this patient population.
Introduction. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) can reverse after short-term treatment. However, relapse rate of MHE after stopping treatment has not been studied so far. We aimed to evaluate long-term (9 months) efficacy of a short-term (3 months) treatment of MHE with lactulose/rifaximin, for maintenance of remission from MHE. Material and methods. In this prospective study, consecutive patients with cirrhosis and MHE were treated with lactulose/rifaximin for 3 months. After treatment, they were followed up for 6 months. Psychometric testing for diagnosis of MHE was performed at baseline, 3 months and 9 months. Results. Of the 527 patients screened, 351 were found eligible and tested for MHE. Out of these, 112 (31.9%) patients had MHE (mean age 55.3 years; 75% males). They were randomized to receive Rifaximin (n = 57; 1,200 mg/day) or Lactulose (n = 55; 30-120 mL/day) for three months. At 3 months, 73.7% (42/57) patients in Rifaximin group experienced MHE reversal compared to 69.1% (38/55) in Lactulose group (p = 0.677). Six months after stopping treatment, 47.6% (20/42) in rifaximin group and 42.1% (16/38) patients in lactulose group experienced MHE relapse (p = 0.274). The overt hepatic encephalopathy development rate (7.1% vs. 7.9%) and mortality rate (0.23% vs. 0%) were similar in both groups. The Child-Turcotte-Pugh score and model for end stage liver disease (MELD) scores of patients who had MHE relapse were higher compared to those who didn't. On multivariate regression analysis, MELD score was an independent predictor of MHE relapse. Conclusion. Of the patients who became MHE negative after short-term (3 months) treatment with rifaximin/lactulose, almost 50% had a relapse of MHE at 6 months follow-up.
Introduction and aim. Hyponatremia is common in patients with decompensated cirrhosis and is associated with increased mortality. Tolvaptan, a vasopressor V2 receptor antagonist, can increase free water excretion, but its efficacy and safety in cirrhotic patients remain unclear. Material and methods. We studied the usage and safety of tolvaptan in cirrhotic patients in a real-life, non-randomized, multicenter prospective cohort study. Forty-nine cirrhotic patients with hyponatremia were treated with tolvaptan 15 mg daily, and 48 patients not treated with tolvaptan in the same period served as controls. Improvement in serum sodium level was defined as an increase in serum sodium from < 125 to ≥ 125 mmol/L or from 125-134 to ≥ 135 mmol/L on day 7. Results. Twenty-three (47%) patients in the tolvaptan group and 17 (35%) in the control group had normal serum sodium on day 7 (p = 0.25). Serum sodium improved in 30 (61%) patients in the tolvaptan group and 17 (35%) patients in the control group (p = 0.011). Adverse events occurred in 46-47% of patients in both groups, and tolvaptan was not associated with worsened liver function. No patient with normal serum sodium on day 7 died within 30 days of treatment, whereas 16% of those with persistent hyponatremia died (p = 0.0019). Conclusion. In conclusion, short-term tolvaptan treatment is safe and can improve serum sodium level in cirrhotic patients with hyponatremia. Normalization of serum sodium level is associated with better survival.
Introduction and aims. Cholangiocarcinomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors that can be classified into three clinically distinct types of cancers, intrahepatic, perihilar and distal cholangiocarcinoma. The inconsistent use of nomenclature for these cancers has obscured a true knowledge of the epidemiology, natural history and response to therapy of these cancers. Our aims were to define demographic characteristics, management and outcomes of these three distinct cancer types. Materials and methods. A retrospective study of patients enrolled in an institutional cancer registry from 1992 to 2010. Median survival was compared between different treatment modalities over three time periods for the three types of cholangiocarcinoma at different stages of the disease using Kaplan Meyer analysis. Results. 242 patients were identified. All cases were reviewed and classified into intrahepatic (90 patients), distal (48 patients) or perihilar (104 patients) cholangiocarcinomas. These cancers differed in median age of onset, gender distribution, median survival and stage. 13.8% of patients presented with stage I, 5.8% with stage II, 9.6% with stage III, 28% with stage IV, with 41.8% having unknown stage. The overall median survival was 15.8 months, and was 23, 25, 14, and 4.5 months for stages I, II, III, and IV respectively. Surgery improved survival in both early and advanced stages. Multimodality therapies further improved outcomes, particularly for perihilar cholangiocarcinoma. Conclusion. Perihilar, distal and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma vary in their presentation, natural history and therapeutic approach to management. A consistently applied classification is essential for meaningful interpretation of studies of these cancers.
Introduction and Aim: Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a common complication of transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting (TIPS). It is associated with a reduced quality of life and poor prognosis. The aim of this study was to compare two groups of patients who did and did not develop overt HE after TIPS. We looked for differences between these groups before TIPS. Materials and methods: A study of 895 patients was conducted based on a retrospective analysis of clinical data. Data was analyzed using Fisher's exact test, Chi-square, Mann Whitney test, unpaired t-test and logistic regression. After the initial analyses, we have looked at a regression models for the factors associated with development of HE after TIPS. Results: 257 (37.9%) patients developed HE after TIPS. Patients' age, pre-TIPS portal venous pressure, serum creatinine, aspartate transaminase, albumin, presence of diabetes mellitus and etiology of portal hypertension were statistically significantly associated with the occurrence of HE after TIPS (p < 0.01). However, only the age, pre-TIPS portal venous pressure, serum creatinine, presence of diabetes mellitus and etiology of portal hypertension contributed to the regression model. Patients age, serum creatinine, presence of diabetes mellitus and portal vein pressure formed the model describing development of HE after TIPS for a subgroup of patients with refractory ascites. Conclusion: we have identified, using a substantial sample, several factors associated with the development of HE after TIPS. This could be helpful in further research.
Introduction and aims. Liver resection is the treatment of choice for many primary and secondary liver diseases. Most studies in the elderly have reported resection of primary and secondary liver tumors, especially hepatocellular carcinoma and colorectal metastatic cancer. However, over the last two decades, hepatectomy has become safe and is now performed in the older population, implying a paradigm shift in the approach to these patients. Material and methods. We retrospectively evaluated the risk factors for postoperative complications in patients over 65 years of age in comparison with those under 65 years of age after liver resection (n = 360). The set comprised 127 patients older than 65 years (35%) and 233 patients younger than 65 years (65%). Results. In patients younger than 65 years, there was a significantly higher incidence of benign liver tumors (P = 0.0073); in those older than 65 years, there was a significantly higher incidence of metastasis of colorectal carcinoma to the liver (0.0058). In patients older than 65 years, there were significantly more postoperative cardiovascular complications (P = 0.0028). Applying multivariate analysis, we did not identify any independent risk factors for postoperative complications. The 12-month survival was not significantly different (younger versus older patients), and the 5-year survival was significantly worse in older patients (P = 0.0454). Conclusion. In the case of liver resection, age should not be a contraindication. An individualized approach to the patient and multidisciplinary postoperative care are the important issues.
Lymphoepithelioma-like hepatocellular carcinoma (LEL-HCC) is a rare primary hepatic neoplasm with female predominance and relatively good prognosis. We report a 73-year-old female with chronic hepatitis B who developed metastatic lesions 5 years after underwent resection for LEL-HCC. The metastatic lesions showed a spectrum of morphologic findings, which could be mistaken for other entities such as lymphoma, particularly in lesions with single-cell infiltrative pattern and abundant tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Immunohistochemical study to confirm the origin of the neoplastic cells is important to make the diagnosis. We also highlighted the clinicopathologic correlation and potential therapeutic implication of programmed death ligand-1 expression in LEL-HCC.
Acute hepatitis E is becoming increasingly recognised in Europe with up to 40% of the population in Southern France being exposed to the virus, which is harboured in pigs. Patients with known liver disease may present with acute hepatitis E and present a diagnostic challenge. For example patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) who are immunosuppressed and contract hepatitis E may be at increased risk of developing chronicity due to concurrent immunosuppression. Importantly, the diagnosis may be missed with the infection misdiagnosed as an autoimmune flare, and immunosuppression increased by the attending physician, thus enhancing the risk of chronicity of infection leading to progressive liver injury in immunocompromised patients. We report a case of acute hepatitis E in a patient with AIH and discuss the features that helped us differentiating it from an autoimmune flare.
The torsion of vessels after liver transplantation rarely occurs. Likewise, calcification of a liver graft has seldom been reported. This report details a case which had torsion of the left hepatic vein on the seventh day after living-related donor liver transplantation. The torsion was reduced soon after re-exploration; however, congestion with partial necrosis of the graft occurred. On the follow-up imaging studies, some resolution of necrosis and graft regeneration were found, yet geographic calcification of the liver graft appeared.The patient died of pneumonia after 13 weeks, post-operation. The avoidance such torsion of vessels is necessary and important.