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1.  Serum cytokeratin 18 fragment level as a noninvasive biomarker for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease 
Background and Aim: We evaluated the usefulness of serum cytokeratin 18 fragment (CK18-F) as a noninvasive biomarker in differentiating nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) from nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) since the prognosis of the 2 diseases differ. Methods: 116 Japanese patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) proven by liver biopsy were studied. Histological findings were classified according to the NAFLD activity score (NAS) proposed by the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network. The correlation between histological findings and serum CK18-F levels was investigated. Results: Serum CK18-F levels showed a positive correlation with histologic steatosis (ρ = 0.271, P = 0.0033), inflammation (ρ = 0.353, P = 0.0005), ballooning (ρ = 0.372, P = 0.0001), and the total NAS (ρ = 0.474, P = 2.68 × 10-7). The serum CK18-F level was significantly lower for NAFL (NAS ≤ 2) than for borderline NASH (NAS of 3-4) or definite NASH (NAS ≥ 5) (P = 0.0294, P = 1.163 × 10-5, respectively). The serum CK18-F level was significantly higher for definite NASH than for borderline NASH (P = 0.0002). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of serum CK18-F to predict the presence of NAFL and definite NASH was 0.762 and 0.757, respectively. The optimal cut-off point of serum CK18-F for NAFL and definite NASH was 230 and 270 U/L, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predict value, and negative predict value of serum CK18-F for NAFL were 0.89, 0.65, 0.34, and 0.97, and those for definite NASH were 0.64, 0.76, 0.72, and 0.67, respectively. Accuracies of diagnosis for both NAFL and definite NASH were 0.70. Conclusions: Serum CK18-F could be a clinically useful biomarker to discriminate between NAFL and NASH.
PMCID: PMC4276188  PMID: 25550930
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); serum cytokeratin 18 fragment (CK18-F); nonalcoholic fatty liver disease activity score (NAS); nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL); definite nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
2.  Predictors of Response to 24-Week Telaprevir-Based Triple Therapy for Treatment-Naïve Genotype 1b Chronic Hepatitis C Patients 
We evaluated the genetic variation in rs8099917, substitutions in core amino acid (aa) 70, and the number of aa substitutions in the interferon sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) on the prediction of sustained virological response (SVR) in treatment-naïve hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b (G1b) patients. This multicenter study involved 150 Asian treatment-naïve patients infected with HCV G1b who received 12 weeks of telaprevir in combination with 24 weeks of peginterferon-α-2b and ribavirin. The baseline and treatment-related factors potentially associated with SVR were determined by multivariate logistic regression analysis. Virological response was analyzed on an intent-to-treat basis. Cessation of the therapy due to adverse effects occurred in only 2 patients, who discontinued the trial at 10 weeks and at 2 weeks due to cerebral infarction and renal impairment, respectively. Among the 150 patients in whom the final virological response was determined, only genotype TT in rs8099917 was identified as a pretreatment predictor (P = 7.38 × 10−4). Achievement of a rapid virological response (RVR), defined as undetectable HCV RNA at week 4 of treatment, was identified as an after-starting-treatment predictor (P = 2.47 × 10−5). However, neither a substitution in core aa 70 nor the number of substitutions in the ISDR affected treatment outcome.
PMCID: PMC4150495  PMID: 25197269
3.  Elevation in Serum Concentration of Bone-Specific Alkaline Phosphatase without Elevation in Serum Creatinine Concentration Secondary to Adefovir Dipivoxil Therapy in Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection 
Of 168 patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection-related liver disease, 20 patients who had received 100 mg of lamivudine plus 10 mg/day of adefovir dipivoxil (ADV) (ADV group) and 124 patients who had received 0.5 mg/day of entecavir or 100 mg/day of lamivudine (non-ADV group) for >1 year were enrolled. For comparative analyses, 19 well-matched pairs were obtained from the groups by propensity scores. At the time of enrollment, serum creatinine and phosphate concentrations were similar between the ADV and non-ADV groups; however, urinary phosphate (P = 0.0424) and serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP) (P = 0.0228) concentrations were significantly higher in the ADV group than in the non-ADV group. Serum BAP was significantly higher at the time of enrollment than before ADV administration in the ADV group (P = 0.0001), although there was no significant change in serum BAP concentration in the non-ADV group. There was a significant positive correlation between the period of ADV therapy and ΔBAP (R2 = 0.2959, P = 0.0160). Serum BAP concentration increased before increase in serum creatinine concentration and was useful for early detection of adverse events and for developing adequate measures for continuing ADV for chronic HBV infection-related liver disease.
PMCID: PMC3782837  PMID: 24106611
4.  Serum Lipoprotein Profiles and Response to Pegylated Interferon Plus Ribavirin Combination Therapy in Patients With Chronic HCV Genotype 1b Infection 
Hepatitis Monthly  2013;13(5):e8988.
Abnormal serum lipid profiles have been noted in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Moreover, many reports suggest that serum lipoprotein profiles are more profoundly distorted in patients with HCV G1b infection who have an unfavorable response to pegylated interferon (peg-IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) combination therapy. However, after the discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms near the IL28B gene (rs8099917 and rs12979860) as potent predictive factors affecting the response to peg-IFN plus RBV, lipid factors are thought to be confounding factors.
To re-examine the significance of lipoprotein profiles on virological response to peg-IFN plus RBV combination therapy in patients with chronic HCV G1b infection, we examined cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations in each lipoprotein fraction separated by high performance liquid chromatography.
Patients and Methods
Lipoprotein profiles were examined using fasting sera from 108 patients infected with HCV G1b who had chronic hepatitis, as determined by liver biopsy. Results of lipoprotein profiles and clinical data, including IL28B genotype and amino acid substitution at aa70 of HCV G1b, were compared between patients with a sustained virological response (SVR) and non-SVR or a non-virological response (NVR) and virological responses other than NVR (non-NVR). In addition, significant predictive factors independently associated with virological response to peg-IFNα-2b plus RBV were determined by logistic regression analysis.
An increased ratio of cholesterol/triglyceride in very low-density lipoprotein (odds ratio (OR) 3.03; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-9.44) along with a major genotype of rs8099917 (OR 9.09; 95% CI 2.94-33.33), were independent predictive factors for SVR. In contrast, lipid factors were not elucidated as independent predictive factors for NVR.
Examination of the fasting lipid profile has clinical importance in predicting the efficacy of peg-IFN-α-2b plus RBV combination therapy for patients with HCV G1b even after the discovery of the IL28 genotype as a potent predictive factor.
PMCID: PMC3743300  PMID: 23967025
Hepatitis C; Ribavirin; Lipoproteins; Lipoproteins VLDL; Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
5.  Alcohol, postprandial plasma glucose, and prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma 
AIM: To identify factors associated with prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after initial therapy.
METHODS: A total of 377 HCC patients who were newly treated at Katsushika Medical Center, Japan from January 2000 to December 2009 and followed up for > 2 years, or died during follow-up, were enrolled. The factors related to survival were first analyzed in 377 patients with HCC tumor stage T1-T4 using multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. A similar analysis was performed in 282 patients with tumor stage T1-T3. Additionally, factors associated with the period between initial and subsequent therapy were examined in 144 patients who did not show local recurrence. Finally, 214 HCC stage T1-T3 patients who died during the observation period were classified into four groups according to their alcohol consumption and postprandial glucose levels, and differences in their causes of death were examined.
RESULTS: On multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, the following were significantly associated with survival: underlying liver disease stage [non-cirrhosis/Child-Pugh A vs B/C, hazard ratio (HR): 0.603, 95% CI: 0.417-0.874, P = 0.0079], HCC stage (T1/T2 vs T3/T4, HR: 0.447, 95% CI: 0.347-0.576, P < 0.0001), and mean postprandial plasma glucose after initial therapy (< 200 vs ≥ 200 mg/dL, HR: 0.181, 95% CI: 0.067-0.488, P = 0.0008). In T1-T3 patients, uninterrupted alcohol consumption after initial therapy (no vs yes, HR: 0.641, 95% CI: 0.469-0.877, P = 0.0055) was significant in addition to underlying liver disease stage (non-cirrhosis/Child-Pugh A vs B/C, HR: 0649, 95% CI: 0.476-0.885, P = 0.0068), HCC stage (T1 vs T2/T3, HR: 0.788, 95% CI: 0.653-0.945, P = 0.0108), and mean postprandial plasma glucose after initial therapy (< 200 mg/dL vs ≥ 200 mg/dL, HR: 0.502, 95% CI: 0.337-0.747, P = 0.0005). In patients without local recurrence, time from initial to subsequent therapy for newly emerging HCC was significantly longer in the “postprandial glucose within 200 mg/dL group” than the “postprandial glucose > 200 mg/dL group” (log-rank test, P < 0.05), whereas there was no difference in the period between the “non-alcohol group” (patients who did not drink regularly or those who could reduce their daily consumption to < 20 g) and the “continuation group” (drinkers who continued to drink > 20 g daily). Of 214 T1-T3 patients who died during the observation period, death caused by other than HCC progression was significantly more frequent in “group AL” (patients in the continuation and postprandial glucose within 200 mg/dL groups) than “group N” (patients in the non-alcohol and postprandial glucose within 200 mg/dL groups) (P = 0.0016).
CONCLUSION: This study found that abstinence from habitual alcohol consumption and intensive care for diabetes mellitus were related to improved prognosis in HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3542757  PMID: 23326166
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Prognosis; Alcohol consumption; Diabetes mellitus; Postprandial plasma glucose level; Initial therapy; Local recurrence; Survival
6.  Several factors including ITPA polymorphism influence ribavirin-induced anemia in chronic hepatitis C 
AIM: To construct formulae for predicting the likelihood of ribavirin-induced anemia in pegylated interferon α plus ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C.
METHODS: Five hundred and sixty-one Japanese patients with hepatitis C virus genotype 1b who had received combination treatment were enrolled and assigned randomly to the derivation and confirmatory groups. Single nucleotide polymorphisms at or nearby ITPA were genotyped by real-time detection polymerase chain reaction. Factors influencing significant anemia (hemoglobin concentration < 10.0 g/dL at week 4 of treatment) and significant hemoglobin decline (declining concentrations > 3.0 g/dL at week 4) were analyzed using multiple regression analyses. Prediction formulae were constructed by significantly independent factors.
RESULTS: Multivariate analysis for the derivation group identified four independent factors associated with significant hemoglobin decline: hemoglobin decline at week 2 [P = 3.29 × 10-17, odds ratio (OR) = 7.54 (g/dL)], estimated glomerular filtration rate [P = 2.16 × 10-4, OR = 0.962 (mL/min/1.73 m2)], rs1127354 (P = 5.75 × 10-4, OR = 10.94) and baseline hemoglobin [P = 7.86 × 10-4, OR = 1.50 (g/dL)]. Using the model constructed by these factors, positive and negative predictive values and predictive accuracy were 79.8%, 88.8% and 86.2%, respectively. For the confirmatory group, they were 83.3%, 91.0% and 88.3%. These factors were closely correlated with significant anemia. However, the model could not be constructed, because no patients with rs1127354 minor genotype CA/AA had significant anemia.
CONCLUSION: Reliable formulae for predicting the likelihood of ribavirin-induced anemia were constructed. Such modeling may be useful in developing individual tailoring and optimization of ribavirin dosage.
PMCID: PMC3491594  PMID: 23139603
Chronic hepatitis C virus infection; Ribavirin; Pegylated interferon α; Prediction model; Hemolytic anemia; Single nucleotide polymorphism

Results 1-6 (6)