Nonparasitic hepatic cysts consist of a heterogeneous group of disorders, which differ in etiology, prevalence, and manifestations. With improving diagnostic techniques, hepatic cysts are becoming more common. Recent advancements in minimally invasive technology created a new Era in the management of hepatic cystic disease. Herein, the most current recommendations for management of noninfectious hepatic cysts are described, thereby discussing differential diagnosis, new therapeutic modalities and outcomes.
Simple hepatic cyst; Noninfectious; Polycystic liver disease; Cystadenoma; Cystadenocarcinoma; Caroli’s disease; Sclerotherapy; Fenestration
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common health problem with a high mortality burden due to its liver- and vascular-specific complications. It is associated with obesity, high-fat diet as well as with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and metabolic syndrome (MetS). Impaired hepatic fatty acid (FA) turnover together with insulin resistance are key players in NAFLD pathogenesis. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are involved in lipid and glucose metabolic pathways. The novel concept is that the activation of the PPARα subunit may protect from liver steatosis. Fenofibrate, by activating PPARα, effectively improves the atherogenic lipid profile associated with T2DM and MetS. Experimental evidence suggested various protective effects of the drug against liver steatosis. Namely, fenofibrate-related PPARα activation may enhance the expression of genes promoting hepatic FA β-oxidation. Furthermore, fenofibrate reduces hepatic insulin resistance. It also inhibits the expression of inflammatory mediators involved in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis pathogenesis. These include tumor necrosis factor-α, intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. Consequently, fenofibrate can limit hepatic macrophage infiltration. Other liver-protective effects include decreased oxidative stress and improved liver microvasculature function. Experimental studies showed that fenofibrate can limit liver steatosis associated with high-fat diet, T2DM and obesity-related insulin resistance. Few studies showed that these benefits are also relevant even in the clinical setting. However, these have certain limitations. Namely, these were uncontrolled, their sample size was small, fenofibrate was used as a part of multifactorial approach, while histological data were absent. In this context, there is a need for large prospective studies, including proper control groups and full assessment of liver histology.
Fenofibrate; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Steatohepatitis; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global health problem with an estimated 170-200 million peoples (approximately 3% of world population) are chronically infected worldwide and new infections are predicted to be on rise in coming years. HCV infection remains categorized as a major risk factor for chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. There has been considerable improvement in our understanding of virus life cycle since, the discovery of HCV two-decades ago. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important players in establishment of HCV infection and their propagation in infected hepatocytes. They target crucial host cellular factors needed for productive HCV replication and augmented cell growth. Very first anti-miRNA oligonucleotides, miravirsen has been tested in clinical trial and shown promising results as therapeutic agent in treatment against chronic HCV infection. Deregulated expression of miRNAs has been linked to the pathogenesis associated with HCV infection by controlling signaling pathways such as, proliferation, apoptosis and migration. Circulating miRNAs emerging as growing field in identification of biomarkers in disease progression and their potential as a means of communication between cells inside the liver is an exciting area of research in future. This review focuses on recent studies enforcing the contribution of miRNAs in HCV life cycle and coordinated regulation in HCV mediated liver disease progression.
Hepatitis C virus; MicroRNA; Liver disease; Interferon signaling; Circulatory microRNA
Pure laparoscopic hepatectomy is a less invasive procedure than conventional open hepatectomy for the resection of hepatic lesions. Increases in experiences with the technique, in combination with advances in technology, have promoted the popularity of pure laparoscopic hepatectomy. However, indications for usage and potential contraindications of the procedure remain unresolved. The characteristics and specific advantages of the procedure, especially for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with chronic liver diseases, are reviewed and discussed in this paper. For cirrhotic patients with liver tumors, pure laparoscopic hepatectomy minimizes destruction of the collateral blood and lymphatic flow from laparotomy and mobilization, and mesenchymal injury from compression. Therefore, pure laparoscopic hepatectomy has the specific advantage of minimal postoperative ascites production that leads to lowering the risk of disturbance in water or electrolyte balance and hypoproteinemia. It minimizes complications that routinely trigger postoperative serious liver failure. Under adequate patient positioning and port arrangement, the partial resection of the liver in the area of subphrenic space, peri-inferior vena cava area or next to the attachment of retro-peritoneum is facilitated in pure laparoscopic surgery by providing good vision and manipulation in the small operative field. Furthermore, the features of reduced post-operative adhesion, good vision, and manipulation within the small area between the adhesions make this procedure safer in the context of repeat hepatectomy procedures. These improved features are especially advantageous for patients with liver cirrhosis and multicentric and/or metachronous HCCs.
Laparoscopic hepatectomy; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver cirrhosis; Chronic liver disease; Liver Tumor; Liver resection; Repeat hepatectomy; Bridging therapy to transplantation; Ascites; Postoperative liver failure
Hepatitis C genotype 6 is endemic in Southeast Asia [prevalence varies between 10%-60% among all hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection], as well as also sporadically reported outside the area among immigrations. The diagnosis of HCV genotype can be inaccurate with earlier methods of genotyping due to identical 5’-UTR between genotype 6 and 1b, hence the newer genotyping methods with core sequencing are preferred. Risk factors and clinical course of HCV genotype 6 do not differ considerably from other genotypes. Treatment outcome of HCV genotype 6 with a combination of pegylated interferon and ribavirin is superior to genotype 1, and nearly comparable to genotype 3, with expected sustained virological response (SVR) rates of 60%-90%. Emerging data suggests that a shorter course 24-wk treatment is equally effective as a standard 48-wk treatment, particularly for those patients who attained undetectable HCV RNA at week 4 (RVR). In addition, baseline and on-treatment predictors of response used for other HCV genotypes appear effective with genotype 6. Although some pan-genotypic direct-acting antivirals have completed phase II/III studies (sofosbuvir and simeprevir) with clinical benefit demonstrated in small number of patients with genotype 6, broad availability of these agents in Southeast Asia may not be expected in the near future. While awaiting the newer therapy, response-guided therapy seems appropriate for patients with HCV genotype 6. Patients with RVR (representing > 70% of patients) are suitable for 24-wk treatment with expected SVR rates > 80%. Patients without RVR and/or those with poor response predictors may benefit from 48 wk of therapy, and a detectable HCV RNA at week 12 (with no early virological response) serves as a stopping rule. This treatment scheme is likely to have a major economic impact on HCV therapy, particularly in Southeast Asia, wherein treatment can be truncated securely in the majority of patients with HCV genotype 6.
Hepatitis C; Genotype 6; Epidemiology; Southeast Asia; Treatment; Pegylated interferon; Ribavirin; Response-guided therapy
AIM: To assess a relationship between longitudinal changes in liver fat content and biochemical parameters in obese children after 1-year nutritional intervention.
METHODS: Forty-six obese children, 21 males and 25 females, aged 6-14 years, underwent metabolic measurements, liver ultrasonography (US) and chemical-shift magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations at baseline and after 1-year nutritional intervention. A child was defined obese if her/his body mass index (BMI) was above the age- and sex-adjusted BMI Cole’s curve passing through the cut-off of 30 kg/m2 at 18 years. BMI Z scores were calculated and adjusted for age and gender by using the Cole’s LMS-method and Italian reference data. Biochemistry included serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). Abdominal US and chemical-shift MRI were performed according to a randomized sequence. The same radiologist performed US by a GE Logiq 9 (General Electric Healthcare Medical Systems, Milwaukee, WI, United States) using a 3.5-MHz convex array transducer. Liver echogenicity was evaluated independently on videotape by 3 radiologists unaware of the child and MRI outcomes, and a consensus was established. Another experienced radiologist, unaware of the child and US data, performed the abdominal chemical-shift MRI with a 1-t system NT-Intera (Philips Medical Systems, Best, The Netherlands) and a phased-array coil. Liver fat fraction (FF) on MRI was judged elevated when greater than 9%. A FF > 18% was considered expressing more severe cases of fatty liver according to Fishbein. A nutritional-behavioral intervention was recommended to promote a normocaloric balanced diet and active lifestyle based on the Italian guidelines for treatment of childhood obesity.
RESULTS: Compared to baseline, at the end of intervention children showed lower intakes of energy (mean ± SD: 2549 ± 1238 Kcal vs 1770 ± 622 Kcal, P < 0.0001), total fat (90 ± 47 g vs 52 ± 23 g, P < 0.0001), carbohydrates (356 ± 174 g vs 241 ± 111 g, P = 0.001), and protein (99 ± 48 g vs 75 ± 23 g, P = 0.006) intakes. Prevalence of FF ≥ 9% declined from 34.8% to 8.7% (P < 0.01), with a mean reduction of 7.8% (95%CI: 5.0-10.6). At baseline, FF was associated with liver biochemical parameters (maximum P < 0.001). At the end of the intervention association was found with AST (P = 0.017). Change of FF was associated with change in AST (P = 0.027) and ALT (P = 0.024). Rate of increased liver echogenicity declined from 45.6% to 21.7% (P < 0.0001). Liver echogenicity was associated with ALT at baseline only (P < 0.001). An age- and sex- adjusted multiple regression analysis showed that FF change was independently associated with change in serum AST (adjusted regression coefficient 0.348, P = 0.048).
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that in obese children longitudinal changes in liver fat content based on MRI may be associated with change in serum transaminases suggesting novelty in monitoring nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Childhood obesity; Serum transaminases; Magnetic resonance imaging; Nutritional intervention
AIM: To investigate the neuroprotective potential of ciclosporin during acute liver failure. We evaluated the effect of intrathecally administered ciclosporin on intracranial pressure, brain water content and aquaporin-4 expression in a rat model with acute hyperammonaemia.
METHODS: Twenty-four male Wistar rats with portacaval anastomosis were randomised into four groups receiving ciclosporin or vehicle and ammonia or saline infusion. Ciclosporin or vehicle was given intrathecally prior to the ammonia or saline infusion. The ammonia or saline infusion was given intravenously for 4 h, while intracranial pressure and arterial pressure was recorded. At the end of the experiment, cerebral cortex and cerebellar brain tissue was analysed for water and aquaporin-4 content.
RESULTS: The following intracranial pressures were found at the end of the experiment: ammonia + ciclosporin: 10.0 ± 1.7 mmHg, ammonia + vehicle: 6.8 ± 1.0 mmHg, saline + ciclosporin: 3.1 ± 0.5 mmHg, saline + vehicle: 3.3 ± 0.6 mmHg. Ammonia infusion had a significant effect on intracranial pressure and brain water content, which both were higher in the groups receiving ammonia (P < 0.001, two-way analysis of variance). Treatment with ciclosporin resulted in relevant tissue concentrations of ciclosporin (> 0.2 micromolar) but did not reduce intracranial pressure after 4 h. Furthermore, ciclosporin did not attenuate the increase in cerebral water content, and did not affect aquaporin-4 expression.
CONCLUSION: Intrathecal administration of ciclosporin does not attenuate intracranial hypertension or brain oedema in rats with portacaval anastomosis and 4 h of ammonia infusion.
Brain oedema; Acute liver failure; Neuroprotection; Hyperammonaemia; Ciclosporin
Neurologic complications are relatively common after solid organ transplantation and affect 15%-30% of liver transplant recipients. Etiology is often related to immunosuppressant neurotoxicity and opportunistic infections. Most common complications include seizures and encephalopathy, and occurrence of central pontine myelinolysis is relatively specific for liver transplant recipients. Delayed allograft function may precipitate hepatic encephalopathy and neurotoxicity of calcineurin inhibitors typically manifests with tremor, headaches and encephalopathy. Reduction of neurotoxic immunosuppressants or conversion to an alternative medication usually result in clinical improvement. Standard preventive and diagnostic protocols have helped to reduce the prevalence of opportunistic central nervous system (CNS) infections, but viral and fungal CNS infections still affect 1% of liver transplant recipients, and the morbidity and mortality in the affected patients remain fairly high. Critical illness myopathy may also affect up to 7% of liver transplant recipients. Liver insufficiency is also associated with various neurologic disorders which may improve or resolve after successful liver transplantation. Accurate diagnosis and timely intervention are essential to improve outcomes, while advances in clinical management and extended post-transplant survival are increasingly shifting the focus to chronic post-transplant complications which are often encountered in a community hospital and an outpatient setting.
Liver transplantation; Neurologic complications; Meningoencephalitis; Seizures; Stroke; Critical illness myopathy
Surgical resection and imaging guided treatments play a crucial role in the management of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Although the primary end point of treatment of HCC is survival, radiological response could be a surrogate end point of survival, and has a key role in HCC decision-making process. However, radiological assessment of HCC treatment efficacy is often controversial. There are few doubts on the evaluation of surgical resection; in fact, all known tumor sites should be removed. However, an unenhancing partial linear peripheral halo, in most cases, surrounding a fluid collection reducing in size during follow-up is demonstrated in successfully resected tumor with bipolar radiofrequency electrosurgical device. Efficacy assessment of locoregional therapies is more controversial and differs between percutaneous ablation (e.g., radiofrequency ablation and percutaneous ethanol injection) and transarterial treatments (e.g., conventional transarterial chemoembolization, transarterial chemoembolization with drug eluting beads and radioembolization). Finally, a different approach should be used for new systemic agent that, though not reducing tumor mass, could have a benefit on survival by delaying tumor progression and death. The purpose of this brief article is to review HCC imaging appearance after treatment.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Imaging; Treatment
AIM: To investigate the roles of peribiliary glands around the bile ducts in the pathophysiology of the biliary tract.
METHODS: The expression of fetal pancreatic markers, pancreatic duodenal homeobox factor 1 (PDX1) and hairy and enhancer of split 1 (HES1) and endodermal stem/progenitor (S/P) cell markers [CD44s, chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4), SOX9 and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)] were examined immunohistochemically in 32 normal adult livers (autopsy livers) and 22 hepatolithiatic livers (surgically resected livers). The latter was characterized by the proliferation of the peribiliary glands. Immunohistochemistry was performed using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections after deparaffinization. Although PDX1 and HES1 were expressed in both the nucleus and cytoplasm of epithelial cells, only nuclear staining was evaluated. SOX9 was expressed in the nucleus, while CD44s, CXCR4 and EpCAM were expressed in the cell membranes. The frequency and extent of the expression of these molecules in the lining epithelia and peribiliary glands were evaluated semi-quantitatively based on the percentage of positive cells: 0, 1+ (focal), 2+ (moderate) and 3+ (extensive).
RESULTS: In normal livers, PDX1 was infrequently expressed in the lining epithelia, but was frequently expressed in the peribiliary glands. In contrast, HES1 was frequently expressed in the lining epithelia, but its expression in the peribiliary glands was focal, suggesting that the peribiliary glands retain the potential of differentiation toward the pancreas and the lining epithelia exhibit properties to inhibit such differentiation. This unique combination was also seen in hepatolithiatic livers. The expression of endodermal S/P cell markers varied in the peribiliary glands in normal livers: SOX9 and EpCAM were frequently expressed, CD44s infrequently, and CXCR4 almost not at all. The expression of these markers, particularly CD44s and CXCR4, increased in the peribiliary glands and lining epithelia in hepatolithiatic livers. This increased expression of endodermal S/P cell markers may be related to the increased production of intestinal and gastric mucin and also to the biliary neoplasia associated with the gastric and intestinal phenotypes reported in hepatolithiasis.
CONCLUSION: The unique expression pattern of PDX1 and HES1 and increased expression of endodermal S/P cell markers in the peribiliary glands may be involved in biliary pathophysiologies.
Biliary tree; Peribiliary glands; Pancreatic duodenal homeobox factor 1; Stem cells; Differentiation; Pancreas
AIM: To evaluate the non-invasive assessments of volume status in patients with cirrhosis.
METHODS: Echocardiography and multifrequency bioimpedance analysis measurements and short synacthen tests were made in 20 stable and 25 acutely decompensated patients with cirrhosis.
RESULTS: Both groups had similar clinical assessments, cortisol response and total body water (TBW), however the ratio of extracellular water (ECW)/TBW was significantly greater in the trunk (0.420 ± 0.004 vs 0.404 ± 0.005), and limbs (R leg 0.41 ± 0.003 vs 0.398 ± 0.003, P < 0.05, and L leg 0.412 ± 0.003 vs 0.399 ± 0.003) with decompensated cirrhosis compared to stable cirrhotics, P < 0.05). Echocardiogram derived right atrial and ventricular filling and end diastolic pressures and presence of increased left ventricular end diastolic volume and diastolic dysfunction were similar in both groups. The decompensated group had lower systemic blood pressure, mean systolic 101.8 ± 4.3 vs 122.4 ± 5.3 and diastolic 58.4 ± 4.1 mmHg vs 68.8 ± 3.1 mmHg respectively, P < 0.01, and serum albumin 30 (27-33) vs 32 (31-40.5) g/L, P < 0.01.
CONCLUSION: Decompensated cirrhotics had greater leg and truncal ECW expansion with lower serum albumin levels consistent with intravascular volume depletion and increased vascular permeability.
Cirrhosis; Bioimpedance; Echocardiography; Extracellular water; Ascites; Cortisol
AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of the aspartate aminotransferase/platelet ratio index (APRI) and neutrophil-lymphocyte (N/L) ratio to predict liver damage in chronic hepatitis B (CHB).
METHODS: We analyzed 89 patients diagnosed with CHB by percutaneous liver biopsy and 43 healthy subjects. Liver biopsy materials were stained with hematoxylin-eosin and Masson’s trichrome. Patients’ fibrosis scores and histological activity index (HAI) were calculated according to the Ishak scoring system. Fibrosis score was recognized as follows: F0-1 No /early-stage fibrosis, F2-6 significant fibrosis, F0-4 non-cirrhotic and F5-6 cirrhotic. Significant liver ﬁbrosis was deﬁned as an Ishak score of ≥ 2. APRI and N/L ratio calculation was made by blood test results.
RESULTS: The hepatitis B and control group showed no difference in N/L ratios while there was a significant difference in terms of APRI scores (P < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that the only independent predictive factor for liver fibrosis in CHB was platelet count. APRI score was significantly higher in cirrhotic patients than in non-cirrhotic patients. However, this significance was not confirmed by multiple logistic regression analysis. The optimum APRI score cut-off point to identify patients with cirrhosis was 1.01 with sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of 62% (36%-86%), 74% (62%-83%), 29% (13%-49%) and 92% (82%-97%), respectively. In addition, correlation analyses revealed that N/L ratio has a negative and significant relationship with HAI (r = -0.218, P = 0.041).
CONCLUSION: N/L ratio was negatively correlated with HAI. APRI score may be useful to exclude cirrhosis in CHB patients.
Chronic hepatitis B; Fibrosis; Liver cirrhosis; Noninvasive; Serum markers
AIM: To evaluate serum complement C4a and its relation to liver fibrosis in children with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
METHODS: The study included 30 children with chronic HCV infection before receiving antiviral therapy. Chronic HCV infection was defined by positive anti-HCV, a positive polymerase chain reaction for HCV-RNA for more than 6 mo with absence of any associated liver disease. A second group of 30 age- and sex-matched healthy children served as controls. Serum C4a levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Liver fibrosis stage and inflammatory grade were assessed using Ishak scoring system. Serum C4a levels were compared according to different clinical, laboratory and histopathological parameters. Statistical significance for quantitative data was tested by Mann-Whitney U non-parametric tests. For qualitative data, significance between groups was tested by χ2 test. Correlation was tested by Spearman’s test. Results were considered significant if P value ≤ 0.05.
RESULTS: The age of the patients ranged from 3.5 to 18 years and that of controls ranged from 4 to 17 years. C4a mean levels were merely lower in patients (153.67 ± 18.69 mg/L) than that in the controls (157.25 ± 11.40 mg/L) with no statistical significance (P = 0.378). It did not differ significantly in patients with elevated vs those with normal transaminases (152.25 ± 16.62 vs 155.36 ± 21.33; P = 0.868) or with different HCV viremia (P = 0.561). Furthermore, there was no statistical significant difference in serum levels between those with no/mild fibrosis and those with moderate fibrosis (154.65 ± 20.59 vs 152.97 ± 17.72; P = 0.786) or minimal and mild activity (155.1 ± 21.93 vs 152.99 ± 17.43; P = 0.809). Though statistically not significant, C4a was highest in fibrosis score 0 (F0), decreasing in F1 and F2 to be the lowest in F3. When comparing significant fibrosis (Ishak score ≥ 3) vs other stages, C4a was significantly lower in F3 compared to other fibrosis scores (143.55 ± 2.33 mg/L vs 155.26 ± 19.64 mg/L; P = 0.047) and at a cutoff value of less than 144.01 mg/L, C4a could discriminate F3 with 76.9% sensitivity and 75% specificity from other stages of fibrosis.
CONCLUSION: Serum complement C4a did not correlate with any of transaminases, HCV viremia or with the histopathological scores. Although C4a decreased with higher stages of fibrosis, this change was not significant enough to predict individual stages of fibrosis. Yet, it could predict significant fibrosis with acceptable clinical performance.
Children; Hepatitis C virus; Complement C4a; Liver biopsy; Liver fibrosis
Significant concerns over the health, social and economic burdens of the two most common, and frequently co-misused drugs of abuse, alcohol and tobacco, has encouraged focused but separate health promotion and disease prevention policies. However, this separation of focus means that while individuals who present with alcohol-related problems are increasingly supported to attain and maintain abstinence from alcohol they are not routinely assisted to refrain from smoking. This is tragically inopportune as alcohol and tobacco have an established “synergistic” effect on aerodigestive cancer risk. Moreover, even when patients successfully tackle their alcohol problems they remain at increased risk for developing these cancers, especially if they continue to smoke. A case series is presented together with a discussion on how service provision for co-misuse could be improved to obviate aerodigestive cancer risk. Given the prevalence of alcohol and tobacco use in the United Kingdom, these observations may have far reaching implications for the individual, health provider(s) and wider society.
Tobacco; Alcohol; Substance misuse; Co-dependence; Behavioural control; Early intervention; Preventive therapy; Aerodigestive cancer; Mortality
Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by reduced serum levels of alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) due to mutations in the SERPINA1 gene causing early onset pulmonary emphysema and, occasionally, chronic liver disease. We report an incidental finding of a novel null AAT allele, Q0Milano, consisting of a 17 nucleotides deletion in exon 3 of SERPINA1 gene, in an Italian child with persistently increased liver enzymes, a mild decrease in circulating AAT levels and without any pulmonary disease. Q0Milano variant results in an unfunctional protein lacking of AAT active site, as the resultant protein is truncated near PiS locus involved in AAT protein stability.
Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency; Rare variant; Alpha1-antitrypsin null mutation; Liver disease
Sorafenib, the unique drug as first-line treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), has opened a window of hope after searching for effective agents to combat HCC for decades. However, the overall outcomes are far from satisfactory. One of the explanations is the genetic heterogeneity of HCC, which has led to identifying predictive biomarkers for primary resistance to sorafenib, and then applying the concept of personalized medicine, or seeking therapeutic strategies such as combining sorafenib with other anticancer agents. Some of the combinations have demonstrated a better effectiveness than sorafenib alone, with good tolerance. The acquired resistance to sorafenib has also drawn attention. As a multikinase inhibitor, sorafenib targets several cellular signaling pathways but simultaneously or sequentially the addiction switches and compensatory pathways are activated. Several mechanisms are involved in the acquired resistance to sorafenib, such as crosstalks involving PI3K/Akt and JAK-STAT pathways, hypoxia-inducible pathways, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, etc. Based on the investigated mechanisms, some other molecular targeted drugs have been applied as second-line treatment for treat HCC after the failure of sorafenib therapy and more are under evaluation in clinical trials. However, the exact mechanisms accounting for sorafenib resistance remains unclear. Further investigation on the crosstalk and relationship of associated pathways will better our understanding of the mechanisms and help to find effective strategies for overcoming sorafenib resistance in HCC.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Sorafenib; Drug resistance; Cellular signaling pathway; Clinical trials
AIM: To analyze the validity of applied test criteria and causality assessment methods in assumed Herbalife hepatotoxicity with positive reexposure tests.
METHODS: We searched the Medline database for suspected cases of Herbalife hepatotoxicity and retrieved 53 cases including eight cases with a positive unintentional reexposure and a high causality level for Herbalife. First, analysis of these eight cases focused on the data quality of the positive reexposure cases, requiring a baseline value of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) < 5 upper limit of normal (N) before reexposure, with N as the upper limit of normal, and a doubling of the ALT value at reexposure as compared to the ALT value at baseline prior to reexposure. Second, reported methods to assess causality in the eight cases were evaluated, and then the liver specific Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) scale validated for hepatotoxicity cases was used for quantitative causality reevaluation. This scale consists of various specific elements with scores provided through the respective case data, and the sum of the scores yields a causality grading for each individual case of initially suspected hepatotoxicity.
RESULTS: Details of positive reexposure test conditions and their individual results were scattered in virtually all cases, since reexposures were unintentional and allowed only retrospective rather than prospective assessments. In 1/8 cases, criteria for a positive reexposure were fulfilled, whereas in the remaining cases the reexposure test was classified as negative (n = 1), or the data were considered as uninterpretable due to missing information to comply adequately with the criteria (n = 6). In virtually all assessed cases, liver unspecific causality assessment methods were applied rather than a liver specific method such as the CIOMS scale. Using this scale, causality gradings for Herbalife in these eight cases were probable (n = 1), unlikely (n = 4), and excluded (n = 3). Confounding variables included low data quality, alternative diagnoses, poor exclusion of important other causes, and comedication by drugs and herbs in 6/8 cases. More specifically, problems were evident in some cases regarding temporal association, daily doses, exact start and end dates of product use, actual data of laboratory parameters such as ALT, and exact dechallenge characteristics. Shortcomings included scattered exclusion of hepatitis A-C, cytomegalovirus and Epstein Barr virus infection with only globally presented or lacking parameters. Hepatitis E virus infection was considered in one single patient and found positive, infections by herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus were excluded in none.
CONCLUSION: Only one case fulfilled positive reexposure test criteria in initially assumed Herbalife hepatotoxicity, with lower CIOMS based causality gradings for the other cases than hitherto proposed.
Herbalife hepatotoxicity; Herbalife induced liver injury; Herbal hepatotoxicity; Herb induced liver injury; Herbs
AIM: To compare the overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) with associated adverse events (AE) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) + sorafenib vs TACE alone.
METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study we collected data on all consecutive patients with a diagnosis of unresectable HCC between 2007 and 2011 who had been treated with TACE + sorafenib or TACE alone. We hypothesized that the combination therapy is superior to TACE alone in improving the survival in these patients. Data extracted included patient’s demographics, etiology of liver disease, histology of HCC, stage of liver disease with respect to model of end stage liver disease score and Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) classification and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging for HCC. Computed tomography scan findings, alpha fetoprotein levels, number of treatments and related AE were also recorded and analyzed.
RESULTS: Of the 43 patients who met inclusion criteria, 13 were treated with TACE + sorafenib and 30 with TACE alone. There was no significant difference in median survival: 20.6 mo (95%CI: 13.4-38.4) for the TACE + sorafenib and 18.3 mo (95%CI: 11.8-32.9) for the TACE alone (P = 0.72). There were also no statistically significant differences between groups in OS (HR = 0.82, 95%CI: 0.38-1.77; P = 0.61), PFS (HR = 0.93, 95%CI: 0.45-1.89; P = 0.83), and treatment-related toxicities (P = 0.554). CTP classification and BCLC staging for HCC were statistically significant (P = 0.001, P = 0.04 respectively) in predicting the survival in patients with HCC. The common AE observed were abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and mild elevation of liver enzymes.
CONCLUSION: Combination therapy with TACE + sorafenib is safe and equally effective as TACE alone in patients with unresectable HCC. CTP classification and BCLC staging were the significant predictors of survival. Future trials with large number of patients are needed to further validate this observation.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Transarterial chemoembolization; Sorafenib; Survival; Adverse events
AIM: To study the antineoplastic efficacy of 10% aspirin intralesional injection on VX2 hepatic tumors in a rabbit model.
METHODS: Thirty-two male rabbits (age: 6-9 wk; body weight: 1700-2500 g) were inoculated with VX2 hepatic tumor cells (104 cells/rabbit) via supra-umbilical median laparotomy. On day 4 post-implantation, when the tumors were about 1 cm in diameter, the rabbits were randomly divided into the following groups (n = 8 each group) to assess early (24 h) and late (7 d) antineoplastic effects of intratumoral injection of 10% bicarbonate aspirin solution (experimental groups) in comparison to intratumoral injection of physiological saline solution (control groups): group 1, 24 h control; group 2, 24 h experimental; group 3, 7 d control; group 4, 7 d experimental. The serum biochemistry profile (measurements of glycemia, alkaline phosphatase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase) and body weight measurements were obtained for all animals at the following time points: D0, before tumor implant; D4, day of treatment; D5, day of sacrifice for groups 1 and 2; D11, day of sacrifice for groups 3 and 4. Gross assessments of the abdominal and thoracic cavities were carried out upon sacrifice. The resected liver tissues, including hepatic tumors, were qualitatively (general morphology, signs of necrosis) and quantitatively (tumor area) assessed by histopathological analysis.
RESULTS: Gross examination showed no alterations, besides the left hepatic lobe tumors, had occurred in the thoracic and abdominal cavities of any animal at any time point evaluated. However, the features of the tumor foci were distinctive between the groups. Compared to the control groups, which showed normal unabated tumor progression, the aspirin-treated groups showed imprecise but limited tumor boundaries and a general red-white coloration (indicating hemorrhaging) at 24 h post-treatment, and development of yellow-white areas of a cicatricial aspect at 7 d after treatment. At all time points evaluated, all except one biochemical parameters tested within the reference range (P > 0.05); a significant increase was detected in the alkaline phosphatase level of the control group 3 on D11 (P < 0.05). At 24 h post-treatment, the aspirin-treated groups showed extensive coagulation necrosis accompanied by a remarkable absence of viable tumor foci; at 7 d after treatment, the tumors had completely disappeared in these animals and fibrous necrotic nodules had developed. In contrast, throughout the study course, the tumors of the control groups remained unchanged, showing tumor nodules without necrosis at the time point corresponding to 24 h post-treatment and increased amounts of tumor nodules at the time point corresponding to 7 d post-treatment. Quantitative analysis of the remaining tumor area revealed that the aspirin-treated groups had significantly smaller tumor foci at 24 h post-treatment (8.5% ± 0.7%) and at 7 d after treatment (11.0% ± 4.2%), compared to those in the control groups (24 h: 98.5% ± 1.5% and 7 d: 94.0% ± 2.7%; both, P < 0.005).
CONCLUSION: Intralesional injection of a 10% aspirin solution causes destruction of VX2 hepatic tumors in rabbits without evidence of relapse at 7 d after treatment administration.
Intralesional injection; Intratumoral injection; Aspirin; Hepatic tumor; VX2; Rabbit; Antineoplastic; Therapy
AIM: To study the effect of dichloromethylene diphosphonate (DMDP), a selective Kupffer cell toxicant in reference to liver damage and postnecrotic liver regeneration in rats induced by sublethal dose thioacetamide (TA).
METHODS: Rats, intravenously (iv) pre-treated with a single dose of DMDP (10 mg/kg), were intraperitoneally (ip) injected with TA 6.6 mmol/kg (per 500 mg/kg body weight). Hepatocytes were isolated from rats at 0, 24, 48 and 72 h following TA intoxication and blood and liver samples were obtained. To evaluate the mechanisms involved in the postnecrotic regenerative state, DNA distribution and ploidy time course were assayed in isolated hepatocytes. Circulating cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) was assayed in serum and determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in liver extract.
RESULTS: The effect of DMDP induced noticeable changes in postnecrotic regeneration, causing an increased percentage of hepatocytes in the cell cycle S phase. The increase at 24 h in S1 population in rats pretreated with DMDP + TA was significantly (P < 0.05) different compared with that of the TA group (18.07% vs 8.57%). Hepatocytes increased their proliferation as a result of these changes. Also, TNF-α expression and serum level were increased in rats pre-treated with DMDP. Thus, DMDP pre-treatment reduced TA-induced liver injury and accelerated postnecrotic liver regeneration.
CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that Kupffer cells are involved in TA-induced liver, as well as in postnecrotic proliferative liver states.
Dichloromethylene diphosphonate; Kupffer cells; Thioacetamide; Hepatotoxicity; Cell cycle
AIM: To present the characteristics and the course of a series of anti-hepatitis B virus core antibody (HBc) antibody positive patients, who experienced hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation after immunosuppression.
METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated in our tertiary centers the medical records of hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) negative patients who suffered from HBV reactivation after chemotherapy or immunosuppression during a 3-year period (2009-2011). Accordingly, the clinical, laboratory and virological characteristics of 10 anti-HBc (+) anti-HBs (-)/HBsAg (-) and 4 anti-HBc (+)/antiHBs (+)/HBsAg (-) patients, who developed HBV reactivation after the initiation of chemotherapy or immunosuppressive treatment were analyzed. Quantitative determination of HBV DNA during reactivation was performed in all cases by a quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction kit (COBAS Taqman HBV Test; cut-off of detection: 6 IU/mL).
RESULTS: Twelve out of 14 patients were males; median age 74.5 years. In 71.4% of them the primary diagnosis was hematologic malignancy; 78.6% had received rituximab (R) as part of the immunosuppressive regimen. The median time from last chemotherapy schedule till HBV reactivation for 10 out of 11 patients who received R was 3 (range 2-17) mo. Three patients (21.4%) deteriorated, manifesting ascites and hepatic encephalopathy and 2 (14.3%) of them died due to liver failure.
CONCLUSION: HBsAg-negative anti-HBc antibody positive patients can develop HBV reactivation even 2 years after stopping immunosuppression, whereas prompt antiviral treatment on diagnosis of reactivation can be lifesaving.
Immunosuppression; Hepatitis B; Anti-hepatitis B virus core antibody positivity; Occult hepatitis B virus infection; Rituximab
AIM: To determine the frequency of various hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes present in patients from north eastern Algeria.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study of 435 HCV infected patients from northeast Algeria, detected in the Sadelaoud laboratory and diagnosed between January 2010 and December 2012. The patients were diagnosed with HCV infection in their local hospitals and referred to be assessed for HCV genotype before the antiviral treatment. Demographic information (sex, age and address), genotype, subtype and viral load were retrieved from the patient medical records. The serum samples were tested by the type-specific genotyping assay.
RESULTS: The majority of the patients (82.5%) were from the central part of the examined region (P = 0.002). The mean age of the patients studied was 53.6 ± 11.5 years. HCV genotype 1 was the most frequent (88.7%), followed by genotypes 2 (8.5%), 4 (1.1%), 3 (0.9%) and 5 (0.2%). Genotype 6 was not detected in these patients. Mixed infection across the HCV subtypes was detected in twenty patients (4.6%). The genotype distribution was related to age and region. Genotype 1 was significantly less frequent in the ≥ 60 age group than in the younger age group (OR = 0.2; 95%CI: 0.1-0.5, P < 0.001). Furthermore, genotype 1 was more frequent in the central part of the examined region than elsewhere (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: The HCV genotype (type 1b was dominant) distribution in Algeria is different from those in other northern countries of Africa.
Hepatitis C virus; Prevalence; Genotype 1b; Viral load; Algeria
We report a case of an isolated hepatic neoplasia which originated in a site of the liver previously affected by radiation induced liver disease (RILD) in a patient resected for gastric cancer and referred to us for high serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. This case challenged us in distiguishing, even histologically, between primary liver cancer and AFP producing gastric cancer metastasis. Only a panel of immunohistochemical markers allowed the definitive diagnosis of liver metastasis of endodermal stem cell-derived and AFP producing gastric cancer. We discuss the criteria for a differential diagnosis, as well as the possible link between RILD and emergence of liver neoplasia.
Alpha-fetoprotein producing gastric cancer; Hepatoid adenocarcinoma; Liver metastasization; Radiation induced liver disease
Castleman disease often develops in the neck, mediastinum and pulmonary hilum. Its onset in the peritoneal cavity is very rare. The patient, a woman in her 70s, was referred to our department for a detailed examination of an abdominal mass. On abdominal ultrasonography, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography, a mass approximately 15 mm in diameter was noted in the hepatic S6. We attempted radical treatment and conducted a laparoscope-assisted right lobectomy. On the basis of histopathological findings, the patient was diagnosed as having hyaline type Castleman disease in the liver, a very rare condition.
Castleman disease; Hyaline type; Liver tumor; Hepatectomy; Positron emission tomography
Liver metastasis of colorectal cancer is common. Resection of solitary tumors of primary and metastatic colorectal cancer can have a favorable outcome. Open resection of primary colorectal tumor and liver metastasis in one operation or in separate operations is currently common practice. Reports have shown that synchronous resections do not jeopardize short or long-term surgical outcomes and that this is a safe and effective approach in open surgery. The development of laparoscopic colorectal surgery and laparoscopic hepatectomy has made a minimally invasive surgical approach to treating colorectal cancer with liver metastasis feasible. Synchronous resections of primary colorectal tumor and liver metastasis by laparoscopy have recently been reported. The efficacy and safety of laparoscopic colorectal resection and laparoscopic hepatectomy have been proven separately but synchronous resections by laparoscopy are in hot debate. As it has been shown that open resection of primary colorectal tumor and liver metastasis in one operation results in an equally good short-term outcome when compared with that done in separate operations, laparoscopic resection of the same in one single operation seems to be a good option. Recent evidence has shown that this new approach is a safe alternative with a shorter hospital stay. Large scale randomized controlled trials are needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of this minimally invasive approach.
Colorectal cancer; Hepatectomy; Laparoscopic; Liver resection; Simultaneous; Synchronous