The macrophage activation marker sCD163 combined with markers of the Enhanced Liver Fibrosis (ELF) score predicts clinically significant portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis

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Abstract

Background

Noninvasive identification of significant portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis is needed in hepatology practice.

Aim

To investigate whether the combination of sCD163 as a hepatic inflammation marker and the fibrosis markers of the Enhanced Liver Fibrosis score (ELF) can predict portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis.

Methods

We measured sCD163 and the ELF components (hyaluronic acid, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 and procollagen-III aminopeptide) in two separate cohorts of cirrhosis patients that underwent hepatic vein catheterisation. To test the predictive accuracy we developed a CD163-fibrosis portal hypertension score in an estimation cohort (n = 80) and validated the score in an independent cohort (n = 80). A HVPG ≥10 mmHg was considered clinically significant.

Results

Both sCD163 and the ELF components increased in a stepwise manner with the patients' Child–Pugh score (P < 0.001, all), and also with increasing HVPG (P < 0.001). receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analyses showed that each one of the individual components predicted a HVPG >10 mmHg with AUROC′s of approximately 0.80. The combined score optimised by logistic regression analyses improved the AUROC to 0.91 in the estimation cohort and 0.90 in the validation cohort. Furthermore, a high value of the combined score was associated with a high short-term mortality.

Conclusions

The combination of the macrophage activation marker sCD163 and the fibrosis markers predicted significant portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis. This score may prove useful for screening purposes and highlights the importance of both the inflammatory and the fibrotic components of cirrhotic portal hypertension.

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