Vol. 16 Issue 3
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
The increase of incidences of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) will continue in the next decades. The therapies about hepatitis C infection has been questioned as a risk factor. Some authors emphasized that sustained virologic response (SVR) with interferon-based therapy reduced the risk of developing HCC. In contrast, some publications that to suggest an increasing risk of HCC in patients treated with Direct-Acting Antivirals (DAA). Whether these therapies are associated with an increased risk of HCC remains to be studied and continued long-term observational studies will be needed. The goal in HCV care needs to go beyond merely achieving an SVR.
MR elastography is a novel method for non-invasive fibrosis assessment, not yet sufficiently validated. In a recent study in 104 patients Park, Gastroenterology 2017; 152: 598-602), MRE was compared to transient elastography for the diagnosis of fibrosis is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The current viewpoint critically appraises this study.
Focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) is a common benign liver tumor, which occurs in the vast majority of the cases in young women. FNH represents a polyclonal lesion characterized by local vascular abnormalities and is a truly benign lesion without any potential for malignant transformation. A retrospective single institution analysis of 227 FNH patients, treated from 1990 to 2016 and a review of studies reporting surgical therapy of overall 293 patients with FNH was performed. Indications for resection with a focus on diagnostic workup, patient selection, surgical mode and operative mortality and morbidity have been analysed. Ninety three patients underwent elective hepatectomy and 134 patients observation alone, where median follow-up was 107 months. Postoperative complications were recorded in 14 patients, 92% of patients reported an improvement with respect to their symptoms. Overall among 293 patients underwent surgery in the series, included to this review, there was a morbidity of 13%, where median follow-up was 53 months. Systematic follow-up remains the gold standard in asymptomatic patients with FNH. However elective surgery should be considered in symptomatic patients, in those with marked enlargement and in case of uncertainty of diagnosis. Surgery for FNH is a safe procedure with low morbidity and very good long term results as far as quality of life after surgery is concerned and surely an integral part of the modern management of FNH.
Introduction. HCV has been suspected to potentially cause degenerations in the central nervous system. Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. Our aim was to assess the prevalence of Parkinson's disease among patients with HCV infection. Material and methods. For this study, we used Medicare database from 2005-2010. Medicare database contains information on enrollment, coverage, diagnosis recorded with International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision (ICD-9). From combined inpatient and outpatient files, Parkinson's disease was identified as the first diagnosis by ICD-9 code 332.0. Other study variables were; age, gender, race (White and No White), and Medicare eligibility status. Simple distribution comparison by HCV status examined with t-test for numerical variables and ?2 test for categorical variables in the main analytical cohort as well as in the propensity score matched cohort. Results. A total of 1,236,734 patients (median age 76 years, 41% male, and 85% White) was identified among over 47 million claims. Of these, 6040 patients (0.5%) were infected with HCV. Overall, 0.8% (N = 49) of the HCV group and 1.3% (N = 16,004) of the Non-HCV group had Parkinson's disease (P < 0.001). When the study groups matched for age, gender and race, the prevalence of Parkinson's disease was similar between HCV and Non-HCV groups (P > 0.05). Discussion. This study revealed that, among Medicare population, HCV was not associated with Parkinson disease.
Background and rationale. Many different non-invasive methods have been studied with the purpose of staging liver fibrosis. The objective of this study was verifying if transient elastography is superior to aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index for staging fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Material and methods. A systematic review with meta-analysis of studies which evaluated both non-invasive tests and used biopsy as the reference standard was performed. A random-effects model was used, anticipating heterogeneity among studies. Diagnostic odds ratio was the main effect measure, and summary receiver operating characteristic curves were created. A sensitivity analysis was planned, in which the meta-analysis would be repeated excluding each study at a time. Results. Eight studies were included in the meta-analysis. Regarding the prediction of significant fibrosis, transient elastography and aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index had diagnostic odds ratios of 11.70 (95% confidence interval = 7.13-19.21) and 8.56 (95% confidence interval = 4.90-14.94) respectively. Concerning the prediction of cirrhosis, transient elastography and aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index had diagnostic odds ratios of 66.49 (95% confidence interval = 23.71-186.48) and 7.47 (95% confidence interval = 4.88-11.43) respectively. Conclusion. In conclusion, there was no evidence of significant superiority of transient elastography over aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index regarding the prediction of significant fibrosis, but the former proved to be better than the latter concerning prediction of cirrhosis.
Introduction. Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is associated with high burden and healthcare costs. Virologic response achieved with antivirals is associated with progression avoidance. This study aimed to estimate the efficiency and clinical impact of antiviral strategies in CHB patients. Material and methods. A Markov model estimated lifetime complications and direct costs in both, HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative cohorts. Strategy 1 (71% of treated population) and strategy 2 (100%), both based on pegylated interferon (peg-IFN) followed by oral tenofovir or entecavir, were compared to no treatment. Progression was based on HBV-DNA levels. Rescue therapy with oral antivirals was applied for peg-IFN failure. Disease costs (C, 2014) and utilities were obtained from literature. Results. Compared to natural history, strategy 1 increased QALY (3.98 in HBeAg-positive, 2.16 in -negative cohort). With strategy 2, survival was up to 5.60 (HBeAg-positive) and 3.05 QALY (in HBeAg-negative). The model predicted avoidance of 128 and 86 carcinomas in HBeAg-positive and negative patients with strategy 1, and up to 181 and 121 in HBeAg-positive and negative for strategy 2. Total cost increased up to C102,841 (strategy 1) and C105,408 (strategy 2) in HBeAg-positive, and C85,858 and C93,754 in HBeAg-negative. A C1,581/QALY gained ratio was estimated versus the natural history for both strategies. In conclusion, increasing antiviral coverage would be efficient, reducing complications.
Introduction. Interferon-free, multi-direct acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is highly effective and well tolerated, but costly. To gain perspective on the evolving economics of HCV therapy, we compared the cost per cure of a multi-DAA regimen with the prior standard of triple therapy. Material and methods. Patients infected with HCV genotype 1 who were treated through the University of Colorado Hepatology Clinic between May 2011 and December 2014 comprised the study population. The multi-DAA regimen of simeprevir plus sofosbuvir (SMV/SOF) was compared to the triple therapy regimen consisting of peginterferon and ribavirin, with either boceprevir or telaprevir (TT). Sustained-virologic response (SVR) rates, total costs per treatment and adverse events were recorded. Total cost per SVR were compared for the two treatments, controlling for patient demographics and clinical characteristics. Results. One hundred eighty-three patients received SMV/SOF (n = 70) or TT (n = 113). Patients receiving SMV/SOF were older, more treatment experienced, and had a higher stage of fibrosis. SVRs were 86% and 59%, average total costs per patient were $152,775 and $95,943, and average total costs per SVR were $178,237 vs. $161,813.49 for SMV/SOF and TT groups, respectively. Medication costs accounted for 98% of SMV/SOF and 85% of TT treatment costs. Conclusion. The high cure rate of multi-DAA treatment of HCV is offset by the high costs of the DAAs, such that the cost per cure from TT to multi-DAA therapy has been relatively constant. In order to cure more patients, either additional financial resources will need to be allocated to the treatment of HCV or drug costs will need to be reduced.
Introduction. Recurrence of HCV infection in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) at the time of liver transplantation is nearly universal and reduces the likelihood of graft and patient survival. Materials and methods. We evaluated outcomes of 17 patients (16 with HCV genotype 1 and 1 with genotype 4) who received up to 12 or 24 weeks of ledipasvir/sofosbuvir plus ribavirin prior to or up to the time of liver transplant in the SOLAR-1 and SOLAR-2 trials. In all patients, HCV RNA was < 15 IU/mL prior to transplant. At screening, 6 patients were Child-Pugh-Turcotte (CPT) class B and 11 were CPT class C. Seven patients underwent transplant prior to completing assigned treatment, with 4 treated for < 12 weeks. The primary endpoint was posttransplant virologic response 12 weeks after transplant (pTVR12) in patients with HCV RNA < 15 IU/mL at their last measurement prior to transplant. Results. Overall, 94% (16/17) achieved pTVR12. All who achieved pTVR12 received at least 11 weeks of treatment. The single patient who did not achieve pTVR12 discontinued study drug on day 21 and underwent liver transplant the following day. The patient had HCV RNA < 15 IU/mL at post-transplant week 2 but died 15 days post-transplant because of multi-organ failure and septic shock. Conclusion. Among a small population of HCV patients with decompensated cirrhosis, virologic response to ledipasvir / sofosbuvir plus ribavirin prior to liver transplantation was maintained after transplantation, even if treatment was stopped early. Administration of ledipasvir / sofosbuvir plus ribavirin before liver transplant can prevent post-transplant HCV recurrence.
Introduction and aim. Endogenous sex hormones are associated with the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Recent studies suggested the role of these hormones in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies investigating the association between sex hormones and NAFLD. Material and methods. A comprehensive search of the databases of the MEDLINE and EMBASE was performed from inception through April 2016. The inclusion criterion was the observational studies that assessed the association of serum total testosterone (TT) and sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and NAFLD. We calculated pooled effect estimates of TT and SHBG with 95% confidence intervals (CI) comparing between subjects with and without NAFLD by using random-effects model. Results. Sixteen trials comprising 13,721 men and 5,840 women met the inclusion criteria. TT levels were lower in men with NAFLD (MD = -2.78 nmol/l, 95%CI -3.40 to -2.15, I2 = 99%) than in those without. Men with higher TT levels had lower odds of NAFLD whereas higher TT levels increased the odds of NAFLD in women. In both sexes, SHBG levels were lower in patients with NAFLD than controls and this inverse association was stronger in women than men and higher SHBG levels were associated with reduced odds of NAFLD. Conclusion. Our meta-analysis demonstrated a sex-dependent association between TT and NAFLD. Lower TT levels are associated with men with NAFLD and inversely associated with women with NAFLD, whereas higher SHBG levels are associated with lower NAFLD odds in both men and women.
Introduction and aim. Utilization of palliative care services in patients dying of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) is understudied. We performed a retrospective review of palliative care services among patients with ESLD unsuitable for liver transplantation (LT) at a tertiary care center. Material and methods. Deceased ESLD patients considered unsuitable for LT from 2007-2012 were identified. Patients were excluded if they received a transplant, had an incomplete workup, were lost to follow up or whose condition improved so LT was not needed. Of the 1,175 patients reviewed, 116 met inclusion criteria. Results. Forty patients (34.4%) received an inpatient palliative care (PC) consultation and forty-one patients (35.3%) were referred directly to hospice. Thirty-three patients (28.4%) transitioned to comfort measures without PC consultation (median survival < 1 day). The median interval between LT denial and PC consultation or hospice was 28 days. Median survival after PC consult or hospice referral was 15 days. In conclusion, in a single center retrospective review of ESLD patients, palliative care services, when utilized, were for care at the very end of life. Without consultation, aggressive interventions continued until hours before death. We propose that ESLD patients could benefit from PC consultation at time of LT evaluation or based on MELD scores.
Introduction and aim. Liver transplantation (LT) provides durable survival for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, there is continuing debate concerning the impact of wait time and acceptable tumor burden on outcomes after LT. We sought to review outcomes of LT for HCC at a single, large U.S. center, examining the influence of wait time on post-LT outcomes. Material and methods. We reviewed LT for HCC at Mayo Clinic in Florida from 1/1/2003 until 6/30/2014. Follow up was updated through 8/1/ 2015. Results. From 2003-2014, 978 patients were referred for management of HCC. 376 patients were transplanted for presumed HCC within Milan criteria, and the results of these 376 cases were analyzed. The median diagnosis to LT time was 183 days (8 - 4,337), and median transplant list wait time was 62 days (0 - 1815). There was no statistical difference in recurrence-free or overall survival for those with wait time of less than or greater than 180 days from diagnosis of HCC to LT. The most important predictor of long term survival after LT was HCC recurrence (HR: 18.61, p < 0.001). Recurrences of HCC as well as survival were predicted by factors related to tumor biology, including histopathological grade, vascular invasion, and pre-LT serum alpha-fetoprotein levels. Disease recurrence occurred in 13%. The overall 5-year patient survival was 65.8%, while the probability of 5-year recurrence-free survival was 62.2%. Conclusions. In this large, single-center experience with long-term data, factors of tumor biology, but not a longer wait time, were associated with recurrence-free and overall survival.
Background. A retrospective cohort study was conducted to investigate the effect of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) level on prognosis in low viral load (< 2000 IU/mL) patients with hepatitis B-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after curative resection. Material and methods. A total of 192 patients with low viral load who had received curative resection of pathologically confirmed HCC were analyzed to determine the factors affecting prognosis. The risk factors for survival, early and late recurrence (2 years as a cut-off) were studied. Results. The median follow-up time was 38.5 months. The overall survival rates at 1-, 3-, and 5-year after curative resection were 94.2%, 64.0%, and 45.2%, respectively. The cumulative recurrence rates at 1-, 3, and 5-year after curative resection were 22.4%, 46.5%, and 67.0%, respectively. Patients with high serum HBsAg levels (> 250 IU/mL) had significantly lower survival rates than those with low HBsAg levels (HR: 1.517, 95% CI: 1.005-2.292, P = 0.047). Stratified analysis showed that patients with high HBsAg levels had a significantly higher late recurrence incidence than those with low HBsAg levels (HR: 2.155, 95% CI: 1.094-4.248, P = 0.026), but did not have a significantly higher risk of early recurrence postoperatively (HR: 1.320, 95% CI: 0.837-2.082, P = 0.233). Multivariate analysis revealed that HBsAg > 250 IU/mL was an independent risk factor associated with late recurrence (HR: 2.109, 95% CI: 1.068-4.165, P = 0.032). Conclusions. HBsAg > 250 IU/mL at the time of tumor resection was an independent risk factor for late recurrence in low viral load HCC patients.
Background. Evidence supporting benefit of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) surveillance in reducing mortality is not well-established. The effect of HCC surveillance in reducing mortality was assessed by an inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW)-based analysis controlled for inherent bias and confounders in observational studies. Material and methods. This retrospective cohort study was conducted on 446 patients diagnosed with HCC between 2007 and 2013 at a major referral center. Surveillance was defined as having at least 1 ultrasound test within a year before HCC diagnosis. Primary outcome was survival estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method with lead-time bias adjustment and compared using the log-rank test. Hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were computed using conventional Cox and weighted Cox proportional hazards analysis with IPTW adjustment. Results. Of the 446 patients, 103 (23.1%) were diagnosed with HCC through surveillance. The surveillance group had more patients with the Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer stage A (80.6% vs. 33.8%, P < 0.0001), more patients eligible for potentially curative treatment (73.8% vs. 44.9%, P < 0.0001), and longer median survival (49.6 vs. 15.9 months, P < 0.0001). By conventional multivariate Cox analysis, HR (95% CI) of surveillance was 0.63 (0.45-0.87), P = 0.005. The estimated effect of surveillance remained similar in the IPTW-adjusted Cox analysis (HR: 0.57; 95% CI: 0.43-0.76, P < 0.001). Conclusions. HCC surveillance by ultrasound is associated with a 37% reduction in mortality. Even though surveillance is recommended in all guidelines, but in practice, it is underutilized. Interventions are needed to increase surveillance rate for improving HCC outcome.
Introduction. There is little information on survival rates of patients with primary biliary cholangtis (PBC) in developing countries. This is particularly true in Latin America, where the number of liver transplants performed remains extremely low for patients with advanced liver disease who fulfill criteria for liver transplantation. The goal of this study was to compare survival rate of patients with PBC in developing countries who were treated with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) versus survival of patients who received other treatments (OT) without UDCA, prescribed before the UDCA era. Material and methods. A retrospective study was performed, including records of 78 patients with PBC in the liver unit in a third level referral hospital in Mexico City. Patients were followed for five years from initial diagnosis until death related to liver disease or to the end of the study. Patients received UDCA (15 mg/kg/per day) (n = 41) or OT (n = 37) before introduction of UDCA in Mexico. Results. Response to treatment was higher in the group that received UDCA. In the five years of follow-up, survival rates were significantly higher in the UDCA group than in the OT group. The hazard ratio of death was higher in the OT group vs. UDCA group, HR 8.78 (95% CI, 2.52-30.61); Mayo Risk Score and gender were independently associated with the risk of death. Conclusions. The study confirms that the use of UDCA in countries with a limited liver transplant program increases survival in comparison to other treatments used before the introduction of UDCA.
Background. One of the evolutionary complications of hepatic echinococcosis (HE) is cholangiohydatidosis, a rare cause of obstructive jaundice and cholangitis. The aim of this study was to describe the results of surgical treatment on a group of patients with cholangiohydatidosis and secondary cholangitis in terms of post-operative morbidity (POM). Material and method. Case series of patients operated on for cholangiohydatidosis and cholangitis in the Department at Surgery of the Universidad de La Frontera and the Clínica Mayor in Temuco, Chile between 2004 and 2014. The minimum follow-up time was six months. The principal outcome variable was the development of POM. Other variables of interest were age, sex, cyst diameter, hematocrit, leukocytes, total bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase and transaminases, type of surgery, existence of concomitant evolutionary complications in the cyst, length of hospital stay, need for surgical re-intervention and mortality. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Results. A total of 20 patients were studied characterized by a median age of 53 years, 50.0% female and 20.0% having two or more cysts with a mean diameter of 13.3 ? 6.3 cm. A median hospital stay of six days and follow-up of 34 months was recorded. POM was 30.0%, re-intervention rate was 10.0% and mortality rate was 5.0%. Conclusion. Cholangiohydatidosis is a rare cause of obstructive jaundice and cholangitis associated with significant rates of POM and mortality.
Introduction and aims. Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is rare; however, it is one of the important causes of acute liver failure which results in significant morbidity or mortality. Material and methods. Patients with suspected DILI were enrolled based on predefined criteria and followed up for at least 6 months or until normalization of liver tests. Causality assessment was done by applying the Roussel Uclaf Causality Assessment Method model. Results. We collected data from 82 individuals diagnosed with DILI at our hospital from 2014 through 2015 (41 men; median age, 38 years). The most commonly implicated drugs were antitubercular therapy (ATT) (49%), antiepileptic drugs (12%), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in 10%, antiretroviral drugs (9%) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (6%). 8 out of 13 deaths were liver related. Also, liver related mortality was significantly higher for ATT DILI (17.5%) vs. those without (2.4%) (P = 0.02). There was no significant difference in overall as well as liver related mortality in hepatocellular, cholestatic or mixed pattern of injury. Laboratory parameters at one week after discontinuation of drug predicted mortality better than those at the time of DILI recognition. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, jaundice, encephalopathy, MELD (Model for end stage liver disease) score and alkaline phosphatase at one week, independently predicted mortality. Conclusion. DILI results in significant overall mortality (15.85%). ATT, anti-epileptic drugs, CAM and antiretroviral drugs are leading causes of DILI in India. Presence of jaundice, encephalopathy, MELD score and alkaline phosphatase at one week are independent predictors of mortality.
Background and Aim. HFE-related Hemochromatosis (HH) is characterized by marked phenotype heterogeneity, probably due to the combined action of acquired and genetic factors. Among them, GNPAT rs11558492 was proposed as genetic modifier of iron status, but results are still controversial. To shed light on these discrepancies, we genotyped 298 Italian p.C282Y homozygotes and 169 healthy controls. Material and methods. Allele and genotype frequencies were analysed and compared with those reported in Exome Variant Server (EVS). To explore the role of rs11558492 as a potential modifier of iron status, serum ferritin (SF), liver iron concentration (LIC) and iron removed (IR) were studied according to allele and genotype frequencies. In addition, the effect of the SNP on liver fibrosis was examined comparing patients with absent/mild-moderate fibrosis to those with severe fibrosis-cirrhosis. Results. GNPAT rs11558492 minor allele (G) frequency (MAF) was 20.3% in HFE-HH, 17.2% in controls and 20.6% in EVS database. Genotype frequencies were 64% and 69.2% (AA), 31.2% and 27.2% (AG), 4.8% and 3.6% (GG) in HFE-HH and controls, respectively. No significant differences were found comparing genotype and allele frequencies even selecting subgroups of only-males with extreme phenotypes and low alcohol intake. SF, IR and LIC levels did not significantly differ according to rs11558492 genotypes. Also, MAF did not differ between patients with absent/mild fibrosis and severe fibrosis/cirrhosis. Conclusions. Our findings indicate that GNPAT rs11558492 is not a major modifier of iron status and is not associated with liver fibrosis in HFE-HH patients.
The Abernethy malformation is a rare congenital malformation defined by the presence of an extrahepatic portosystemic shunt. Although most patients are asymptomatic, clinical encephalopathy is present in 15% of cases. We present a patient with type 2 Abernethy malformation, hyperammonemia, and encephalopathy. Shunt closure was performed successfully using interventional angiography; however, hyperammonemia recurred 3 months later. The diagnosis of Abernethy malformation can be made easily, but the ideal patient management strategy has not yet been established. This is the first reported patient with recurrence of hyperammonemia after interventional treatment; we discuss the therapeutic options for Abernethy malformation.
Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis type 2 (PFIC2) is a rare cholestatic disorder diagnosed in infancy or childhood that can lead to severe hepatic fibrosis and liver failure. Mutations in the ABCB11 gene result in a deficiency of the bile salt export protein (BSEP) and accumulation of bile inside the hepatocytes. Hepatocellular carcinoma is another condition associated with severe forms of deletion mutations in the ABCB11 gene. Treatment options including ursodeoxycholic acid biliary diversion have mixed outcomes and some patients require liver transplantation. Here, we describe two siblings with an extremely mild form of PFIC2 inherited from heterozygous parents. The elder sibling had acute liver failure at the age of six months and both siblings had pruritus, cholestasis, coagulopathy and fat-soluble-vitamin deficiencies in infancy but have been asymptomatic past infancy. Genetic testing of the siblings revealed that each were compound heterozygotes for two missense mutations of the ABCB11 gene: p.C68Y and p.R832H. Medical treatment typical for PFIC2 has not been necessary for either patient. This is the first report of these variants following a mild course in two affected patients.