Source Faculty of Medical Technology, School of Health Sciences, Fujita Health University, Aichi, Japan.
BACKGROUND: Liver stiffness (LS) has been reported to correlate with fibrosis stage (F). The correlation between LS and fibrosis stage and the reduction of LS by antiviral therapy were examined in patients with hepatitis B infection.
METHODS: LS was measured by FibroScan in 212 patients infected with hepatitis B virus. Liver biopsies were done in 51 patients. Changes of LS were assessed in 29 patients treated with nucleotide or nucleoside analogs and 52 patients without antiviral therapy.
RESULTS: LS was significantly correlated with fibrosis stage (ρ = 0.686, P < 0.0001). The optimal cut-off values of LS were 7.1 kPa for F ≥ 2, 10.7 kPa for F ≥ 3, and 16.0 kPa for F4. LS was significantly reduced by antiviral therapy, from 12.9 (range 6.2-17.9) kPa to 6.6 (4.4-10.3) kPa measured at an interval of 512 (range 366-728) days (P < 0.0001). Eleven of 19 (58%) patients with baseline fibrosis stages of F3-4 deduced from LS had 2-point or greater reductions of deduced stage at the last LS measurement. The change ratio of hyaluronic acid (P = 0.0390) was associated with a 2-point or greater reduction of deduced fibrosis stage. Without antiviral therapy, LS tended to increase, increasing from 6.1 (range 3.9-8.5) kPa to 6.3 (range 4.4-9.7) kPa at an interval of 422 (range 358-709) days (P = 0.0682).
CONCLUSIONS: LS was significantly correlated with fibrosis stage in patients with chronic hepatitis B. The reduction of LS by antiviral therapy was significantly correlated with the reduction of hyaluronic acid. Thus, we conclude that LS can be useful to assess the progression and regression of liver fibrosis stage noninvasively.