Prognostic significance of liver stiffness for hepatocellular carcinoma and mortality in HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B

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SUMMARY.The prognostic value of liver stiffness measurements for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is not known. The present study aimed to investigate the use of transient elastography in predicting hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development and mortality in patients with CHB. Five hundred and twenty-eight patients with HBeAg-negative CHB underwent liver stiffness measurements and were prospectively followed up every 3–6 months for a median length of 35 months. The patients were divided into those with liver stiffness <10 kPa (group 1) and ≥10 kPa (group 2). Of the 528 patients, 324 (61%) were men. The median age was 42 years. Compared with group 1, group 2 had a higher percentage of men, with higher median levels of age, liver biochemistry, and viral load. At the third year of follow-up, the cumulative incidence of HCC was higher in group 2 compared with group 1 (9%vs 0%, respectively, P < 0.001). The cumulative liver-related mortality was also higher in group 2 compared to group 1 (4%vs 0%, respectively, P < 0.001). After multivariate analysis, only liver stiffness measurement (LSM) was significantly associated with HCC development and mortality. There was also a higher cumulative incidence of hepatitis flares in group 2 compared to group 1 (46%vs 14%, respectively, P = 0.001) in patients with normal ALT, with higher LSM and AST being significantly associated with subsequent flares. In HBeAg-negative CHB patients, a liver stiffness measurement of ≥10 kPa was associated with a significantly increased risk of subsequent HCC development and mortality.

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