Optimization of hepatitis B cirrhosis detection by stepwise application of transient elastography and routine biomarkers

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Background and Aim:

Significant inflammation may overestimate liver stiffness and result in false positive diagnosis by transient elastography for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) cirrhosis detection. This study tries to further improve the performance by stepwise combination with routine biomarkers.


A total of 236 compensated CHB patients with alanine transferase lower than five times upper limit of normal, liver biopsies, transient elastography, and routine blood tests were included. Performance of stepwise combination of transient elastography and routine biomarkers was analyzed.


The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve for detecting cirrhosis was 0.876 for transient elastography, 0.794 for fibrosis index based on the four factors (FIB-4), 0.765 for age–platelet index (API), 0.715 for aspartate aminotransferase-platelet ratio index (APRI), and 0.661 for alanine-aspartate aminotransferase ratio, respectively. The numbers for significant fibrosis were 0.844, 0.662, 0.595, 0.695, and 0.510 in the same order. The proportion of patients determined as cirrhosis or non-cirrhosis was 66.5% by transient elastography, 41.1% by FIB-4, 14.4% by API, and 24.2% by APRI, respectively; the numbers for significant fibrosis were 55.5% by transient elastography, 11.9% by APRI, and none by the other serum markers. Stepwise combination of transient elastography and FIB-4/APRI increased positive predictive value of confirming cirrhosis diagnosis from 0.677 to 0.808 and 0.724, respectively; and the proportion of patients being determined in the state of cirrhosis and obviating liver biopsy was up to 76%.


By transient elastography-based stepwise combination with readily available serum markers, performance of detecting compensated CHB cirrhosis could be significantly improved in terms of diagnosis accuracy and proportion of obviating liver biopsy.

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