The non-invasive serum biomarker soluble Axl accurately detects advanced liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.
ABSTRACT: Soluble Axl (sAxl) was recently shown to be strongly released into the blood during liver fibrogenesis and hepatocellular carcinoma suggesting sAxl as a biomarker of liver diseases. In this study we are the first to evaluate sAxl in human serum in comparison to Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF) test and transient elastography (TE; Fibroscan) for its value to detect significant (F?2), advanced fibrosis (F?3), and cirrhosis (F4) in different liver disease etiologies and healthy controls. To properly determine the diagnostic accuracy of sAxl, a test cohort as well as a validation cohort was employed using liver biopsy as a reference method. Most notably, sAxl was confirmed to be an accurate biomarker of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Its accuracy was increased, if total serum albumin was added to build a sAxl/albumin ratio. Thereby an AUC of 0.763, 0.776, 0.826, and 0.832 was achieved corresponding to histological fibrosis stages F?2, F?3, F4 with liver biopsy as a reference method, and cirrhosis according to imaging techniques, respectively. With a cut-off of 1.29, a sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV of 78.5%, 80.1%, 44%, 94.9% for the detection of cirrhosis was achieved. In comparison, ELF test and TE showed an AUC of 0.910, and 0.934, respectively, for the detection of cirrhosis. However, performance of TE was not possible in 14.4% of patients and both, ELF™ test and TE bear the disadvantage of high costs. In conclusion, the sAxl/albumin ratio is suggested as an accurate biomarker of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Due to its easy applicability and low costs it is suitable as screening parameter for significant to advanced liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, especially if TE is not available or not applicable.
Project description:Assessment of liver fibrosis is important in determining prognosis, disease progression and need for treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). Limitations to the use of liver biopsy in assessing fibrosis are well recognized, and noninvasive tests are being increasingly evaluated including transient elastography (TE) and serum markers such as the Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF) test. We assessed performance of ELF and TE in detecting liver fibrosis with reference to liver histology in a cohort of patients with CHB (n = 182), and compared the performance of these modalities. Median age was 46 and mean AST 70 IU/L. Cirrhosis was reported in 20% of liver biopsies. Both modalities performed well in assessing fibrosis at all stages. Area under receiver operator characteristic (AUROC) curves for detecting METAVIR fibrosis stages F ? 1, F ? 2, F ? 3 and F4 were 0.77, 0.82, 0.80 and 0.83 for ELF and 0.86, 0.86, 0.90 and 0.95 for TE. TE performed significantly better in the assessment of severe fibrosis (AUROC 0.80 for ELF and 0.90 for TE, P < 0.01) and cirrhosis (0.83 for ELF and 0.95 for TE, P < 0.01). This study demonstrates that ELF has good performance in detection of liver fibrosis in patients with CHB, and when compared, TE performs better in detection of severe fibrosis/cirrhosis.
Project description:Patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) and cirrhosis are at high risk for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Current diagnostic tools for HCC detection include imaging techniques and serum biomarkers such as ?-fetoprotein (AFP). Yet, these methods are limited in sensitivity and specificity to accurately detect early HCC. Here we focused on the potential of soluble Axl (sAxl) as a biomarker in CLD patients by analyzing serum samples of 1067 patients and healthy controls from centers in Europe and Asia. We show that serum concentrations of sAxl were significantly increased at early (82.57 ng/mL) and later stages of HCC (114.50 ng/mL) as compared to healthy controls (40.15 ng/mL). Notably, no elevated sAxl levels were detected in patients with CLD including chronic viral hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, cholestatic liver disease, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease versus healthy controls. Furthermore, sAxl did not rise in liver adenomas or cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). Yet, patients with advanced fibrosis (F3) or cirrhosis (F4) showed enhanced sAxl concentrations (F3: 54.67 ng/mL; F4: 94.74 ng/mL). Hepatic myofibroblasts exhibited an increased release of sAxl, suggesting that elevated sAxl levels arise from these cells during fibrosis. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis of sAxl displayed a strongly increased sensitivity and specificity to detect both cirrhosis (80.8%/92.0%) and HCC (83.3%/86.7%) with an area under the curve of 0.935/0.903 as compared to AFP. In conclusion, sAxl shows high diagnostic accuracy at early stage HCC as well as cirrhosis, thereby outperforming AFP. Importantly, sAxl remains normal in most common CLDs, liver adenomas and CCA.
Project description:To evaluate the diagnostic performance of seven non-invasive tests (NITs) of liver fibrosis and to assess fibrosis progression over time in HIV/HCV co-infected patients.Transient elastography (TE) and six blood tests were compared to histopathological fibrosis stage (METAVIR). Participants were followed over three years with NITs at yearly intervals.Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) for significant fibrosis (> = F2) in 105 participants was highest for TE (0.85), followed by FIB-4 (0.77), ELF-Test (0.77), APRI (0.76), Fibrotest (0.75), hyaluronic acid (0.70), and Hepascore (0.68). AUROC for cirrhosis (F4) was 0.97 for TE followed by FIB-4 (0.91), APRI (0.89), Fibrotest (0.84), Hepascore (0.82), ELF-Test (0.82), and hyaluronic acid (0.79). A three year follow-up was completed by 87 participants, all on antiretroviral therapy and in 20 patients who completed HCV treatment (9 with sustained virologic response). TE, APRI and Fibrotest did not significantly change during follow-up. There was weak evidence for an increase of FIB-4 (mean increase: 0.22, p = 0.07). 42 participants had a second liver biopsy: Among 38 participants with F0-F3 at baseline, 10 were progessors (1-stage increase in fibrosis, 8 participants; 2-stage, 1; 3-stage, 1). Among progressors, mean increase in TE was 3.35 kPa, in APRI 0.36, and in FIB-4 0.75. Fibrotest results did not change over 3 years.TE was the best NIT for liver fibrosis staging in HIV/HCV co-infected patients. APRI-Score, FIB-4 Index, Fibrotest, and ELF-Test were less reliable. Routinely available APRI and FIB-4 performed as good as more expensive tests. NITs did not change significantly during a follow-up of three years, suggesting slow liver disease progression in a majority of HIV/HCV co-infected persons on antiretroviral therapy.
Project description:Liver stiffness (LS) was assessed using transient elastography, and the enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF) test was performed to accurately assess fibrotic burden. We validated the LS-ELF algorithm and investigated whether the sequential LS-ELF algorithm performs better than concurrent combination of these analyses in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients.Between 2009 and 2013, 222 CHB patients who underwent liver biopsy (LB), as well as LS measurement and the ELF test, were enrolled.Advanced fibrosis (?F3) and cirrhosis (F4) were identified in 141 (63.6%) and 118 (53.2%) patients, respectively. Areas under receiver operating characteristic curve for LS predictions of ?F3 (0.887 vs 0.703) and F4 (0.853 vs 0.706) were significantly higher than the ELF test (all p?0.001). Based on the LS-ELF algorithm, 60.4% to 71.6% and 55.7% to 66.3% of patients could have avoided LB to exclude ?F3 and F4, respectively, whereas 68.0% to 78.7% and 63.5% to 66.1% of patients could have avoided LB to confirm ?F3 and F4, respectively. When confirmation and exclusion strategies were applied simultaneously, 69.4% to 72.5% and 60.8% to 65.3% of patients could have avoided LB and been diagnosed as ?F3 and F4, respectively. The proportion of patients who correctly avoided LB for the prediction of ?F3 (69.4% to 72.5% vs 42.3% to 59.0%) and F4 (60.8% to 65.3% vs 23.9% to 49.5%) based on the sequential LS-ELF algorithm was significantly higher than the concurrent combination (all p?0.05).The sequential LS-ELF algorithm conferred a greater probability of avoiding LB in CHB patients to diagnose advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis, and this test performed significantly better than the concurrent combination.
Project description:Establishing accurate non-invasive methods of liver fibrosis quantification remains a major unmet need. Here, we assessed the diagnostic value of a multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol including diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI and magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) in comparison with transient elastography (TE) and blood tests [including ELF (Enhanced Liver Fibrosis) and APRI] for liver fibrosis detection.In this single centre cross-sectional study, we prospectively enrolled 60 subjects with liver disease who underwent multiparametric MRI (DWI, DCE-MRI and MRE), TE and blood tests. Correlation was assessed between non-invasive modalities and histopathologic findings including stage, grade and collagen content, while accounting for covariates such as age, sex, BMI, HCV status and MRI-derived fat and iron content. ROC curve analysis evaluated the performance of each technique for detection of moderate-to-advanced liver fibrosis (F2-F4) and advanced fibrosis (F3-F4).Magnetic resonance elastography provided the strongest correlation with fibrosis stage (r = 0.66, P < 0.001), inflammation grade (r = 0.52, P < 0.001) and collagen content (r = 0.53, P = 0.036). For detection of moderate-to-advanced fibrosis (F2-F4), AUCs were 0.78, 0.82, 0.72, 0.79, 0.71 for MRE, TE, DCE-MRI, DWI and APRI, respectively. For detection of advanced fibrosis (F3-F4), AUCs were 0.94, 0.77, 0.79, 0.79 and 0.70, respectively.Magnetic resonance elastography provides the highest correlation with histopathologic markers and yields high diagnostic performance for detection of advanced liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, compared to DWI, DCE-MRI, TE and serum markers.
Project description:To evaluate the applicability of the Latent Class Analysis (LCA) and accuracy of transient elastography (TE), aspartate-to-platelet-ratio-index (APRI), enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF), and liver biopsy (LB) for liver fibrosis assessment in a model without a gold standard.Significant fibrosis was defined as TE ? 7.1?kPa, APRI ? 1.5, ELF ? 9.37, or LB METAVIR F ? 2. Cirrhosis was defined as TE ? 12.5?kPa, APRI ? 2.0, ELF ? 10.31, or LB as METAVIR F = 4.117 patients with chronic hepatitis C were included. In the LCA, for significant fibrosis the sensitivities and specificities (95% CI) were 0.92 (0.86-0.98) and 0.79 (0.72-0.86) for TE; 0.47 (0.40-0.54) and 0.99 (0.95-1.00) for APRI; 0.81 (0.74-0.88) and 0.78 (0.71-0.85) for ELF; and 0.86 (0.68-1.00) and 0.91 (0.79-1.00) for LB. For cirrhosis, the sensitivities and specificities were 0.92 (0.76-1.00) and 0.94 (0.91-0.97) for TE; 0.57 (0.37-0.77) and 0.97 (0.93-1.00) for APRI; 0.94 (0.84-1.00) and 0.88 (0.82-0.94) for ELF; and 0.30 (0.12-0.48) and 1.00 for LB.LCA was useful to evaluate accuracy of methods for liver fibrosis staging. Sensitivities and specificities of noninvasive methods were increased in LCA compared to the use of LB as the gold standard.
Project description:Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) and FibroTest (FT) are frequently used as non-invasive alternatives for fibrosis staging to liver biopsy. However, to date, diagnostic performances of Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF) test, which consists of hyaluronic acid, aminoterminal propeptide of procollagen type-III, and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1, have not been compared to those of LSM and FT in Asian chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients.Between June 2010 and November 2011, we prospectively enrolled 170 CHB patients who underwent liver biopsies along with LSM, FT, and ELF. The Batts system was used to assess fibrosis stages.Areas under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs) to predict significant fibrosis (F?2), advanced fibrosis (F?3), and cirrhosis (F?=?4) were 0.901, 0.860, and 0.862 for ELF, respectively; 0.937, 0.956, and 0.963 for LSM; and 0.896, 0.921, and 0.881 for FT. AUROCs to predict F?2 were similar between each other, whereas LSM and FT had better AUROCs than ELF for predicting F?3 (both p<0.05), and LSM predicted F4 more accurately than ELF (p<0.05). Optimized cutoffs of ELF to maximize sum of sensitivity and specificity were 8.5, 9.4, and 10.1 for F?2, F?3, and F?=?4, respectively. Using suggested ELF, LSM and FT cutoffs to diagnose F1, F2, F3, and F4, 91 (53.5%), 117 (68.8%), and 110 (64.7%) patients, respectively, were correctly classified according to histological results.ELF demonstrated considerable diagnostic value in fibrosis staging in Asian CHB patients, especially in predicting F?2. However, LSM consistently provided better performance for predicting F?3 and F4.
Project description:Liver biopsies have been partially replaced by noninvasive methods for assessing liver fibrosis. We explored the usefulness of four novel biomarkers, enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF), glycosylation isomer of Mac-2 binding protein (M2BPGi), galectin-3, and soluble suppression of tumorigenicity 2 (sST2), in association with liver fibrosis.ELF, M2BPGi, galectin-3, and sST2 were assayed in 173 patients with chronic liver diseases. The results were analyzed according to fibrosis grade (F0/1, F2, and F3/4) by transient elastography (TE).ELF, M2BPGi, galectin-3, and sST2 values differed significantly according to TE grade; ELF and M2BPGi values were higher in F2 and F3/4 than in F0/1 (P?0.001, all), sST2 values were higher in F3/4 than in F0/1 and F2 (P<0.05), and galectin-3 values were higher in F3/4 than in F0/1 (P=0.0036). ELF and M2BPGi showed good TE fibrosis detection performance (area under the curves [AUC], 0.841 and 0.833 for ?F2; and 0.837 and 0.808 for ?F3). The sensitivity and specificity for predicting TE grade F?2 were 84.1% and 76.7% for ELF and 63.6% and 91.5% for M2BPGi.This is the first study to compare the liver fibrosis assessment of four novel biomarkers: ELF, M2BPGi, galectin-3, and sST2. The biomarkers varied significantly according to TE grade, and each biomarker showed a different trend. ELF and M2BPGi seem to have comparable good performance for detecting liver fibrosis.
Project description:Signaling of the receptor tyrosine kinase Axl and its ligand Gas6 is crucially involved in the development of liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by activation of hepatic stellate cells and modulation of hepatocyte differentiation. Shedding of Axl's ectodomain leads to the release of soluble Axl (sAxl), which is increased in advanced fibrosis and in early-to-late stage HCC in the presence and absence of cirrhosis. Here, we focus on the dynamics of Axl receptor shedding and delineate possible scenarios how Axl signaling might act as driver of fibrosis progression and HCC development. Based on experimental and clinical data, we discuss the consequences of modifying Axl signaling by sAxl cleavage, as well as cellular strategies to escape from antagonizing effects of Axl shedding by the involvement of the hepatic microenvironment. We emphasize a correlation between free Gas6 and free sAxl levels favoring abundant Gas6/Axl signaling in advanced fibrosis and HCC. The raised scenario provides a solid basis for theranostics allowing the use of sAxl as an accurate diagnostic biomarker of liver cirrhosis and HCC, as well as Axl receptor signaling for therapeutic intervention in stratified HCC patients.
Project description:LiverMultiScan is an emerging diagnostic tool using multiparametric MRI to quantify liver disease. In a two-centre prospective validation study, 161 consecutive adult patients who had clinically-indicated liver biopsies underwent contemporaneous non-contrast multiparametric MRI at 3.0 tesla (proton density fat fraction (PDFF), T1 and T2* mapping), transient elastography (TE) and Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF) test. Non-invasive liver tests were correlated with gold standard histothological measures. Reproducibility of LiverMultiScan was investigated in 22 healthy volunteers. Iron-corrected T1 (cT1), TE, and ELF demonstrated a positive correlation with hepatic collagen proportionate area (all p?<?0·001). TE was superior to ELF and cT1 for predicting fibrosis stage. cT1 maintained good predictive accuracy for diagnosing significant fibrosis in cases with indeterminate ELF, but not for cases with indeterminate TE values. PDFF had high predictive accuracy for individual steatosis grades, with AUROCs ranging from 0.90-0.94. T2* mapping diagnosed iron accumulation with AUROC of 0.79 (95% CI: 0.67-0.92) and negative predictive value of 96%. LiverMultiScan showed excellent test/re-test reliability (coefficients of variation ranging from 1.4% to 2.8% for cT1). Overall failure rates for LiverMultiScan, ELF and TE were 4.3%, 1.9% and 15%, respectively. LiverMultiScan is an emerging point-of-care diagnostic tool that is comparable with the established non-invasive tests for assessment of liver fibrosis, whilst at the same time offering a superior technical success rate and contemporaneous measurement of liver steatosis and iron accumulation.