Department of Hepatobiliary Sciences and Liver Transplantation, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Liver Disease Research Center, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Differing threshold levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) are recommended by international guidelines for commencement of antiviral therapy. These guidelines advocate therapy for patients with significant fibrosis (METAVIR score ≥F2); we assessed the accuracy of these guideline-defined thresholds in identifying patients with ≥F2 fibrosis.
We applied the European (European Association for the Study of Liver [EASL] 2012), Asian-Pacific (Asian-Pacific Association for the Study of Liver [APASL] 2012), American (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases [AASLD] 2009), and United States Panel Algorithm (USPA 2008) criteria to 366 consecutive hepatitis B e antigen-negative patients with liver biopsy samples: EASL, ALT >laboratory-defined upper limit of normal (ULN) and HBV DNA ≥2000 IU/mL (n = 171); APASL, ALT >2-fold laboratory-defined ULN and HBV DNA ≥2000 IU/mL (n = 87); AASLD, ALT >2-fold the updated ULN (0.5-fold ULN [corresponding to ≤19 U/L] for women and 0.75-fold the ULN [corresponding to ≤30 U/L] for men) and HBV DNA ≥20,000 IU/mL (n = 53); and USPA, ALT >updated ULN (>0.5-fold ULN for women and >0.75-fold ULN for men) and HBV DNA ≥2000 IU/mL (n = 173).
Overall, 113 patients (30.9%) had ≥F2 fibrosis, which was more frequent among patients who fulfilled any guideline criteria (45.7% vs 17.9% for those who did not fulfill any criteria, P < .0001). In applying the EASL, AASLD, APASL, and USPA criteria, sensitivity and specificity values for detection of ≥F2 fibrosis were 45.6%, 58.5%, 56.3%, and 45.7% (P = .145) and 82.1%, 73.8%, 77.1%, and 82.4% (P = .366), respectively. The EASL criteria (area under the receiver operating characteristic [AUROC] curve, 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-0.71) and USPA criteria (AUROC, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.58-0.73) performed better than APASL (AUROC, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.59-0.69; P = .421) and significantly better than the AASLD criteria (AUROC, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.54-0.64; P = .013).
In hepatitis B e antigen-negative patients with chronic hepatitis, the EASL, AASLD, APASL, and USPA criteria identify patients with ≥F2 fibrosis with low levels of accuracy. However, the EASL and USPA criteria are the most accurate for identification of these patients.