Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in 2016

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the commonest cause of liver disease worldwide, and is rapidly becoming the leading indication for liver transplantation.

Sources of data

Original articles, reviews and meta-analyses, guidelines.

Areas of agreement

NAFLD strongly correlates with obesity and insulin resistance; currently, the best management strategy is weight loss and treatment of the metabolic syndrome.

Areas of controversy

Recent data suggest that the presence of fibrosis and not non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the predictor of clinical outcome.

Growing points

Many phase 2 and 3 trials are underway. Drugs hoped to be effective are obeticholic acid, elafibranor, glucagon-like peptide-1 analogues and CCR2/5 inhibitors.

Areas timely for developing research

Improved understanding of the pathophysiology of NAFLD should help us identify which patients progress to significant liver disease and to develop therapies to target this population.

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