The importance of the reduction in hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels 4 and 12 weeks after starting peginterferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin combination therapy has been reported to predict a sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients infected with HCV genotype 1. We conducted a multicenter study to validate this importance along with baseline predictive factors in this patient subpopulation.
A total of 516 patients with HCV genotype 1 and pretreatment HCV RNA levels ≥5.0 log10 IU/mL who completed response-guided therapy according to the AASLD guidelines were enrolled. The reduction in serum HCV RNA levels 4 and 12 weeks after starting therapy was measured using real-time PCR, and its value in predicting the likelihood of SVR was evaluated.
The area under the receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve was 0.852 for 4-week reduction and 0.826 for 12-week reduction of HCV RNA levels, respectively. When the cut-off is fixed at a 2.8-log10 reduction at 4 weeks and a 4.9-log10 reduction at 12 weeks on the basis of ROC analysis, the sensitivity and specificity for SVR were 80.9% and 77.9% at 4 weeks and were 89.0% and 67.2% at 12 weeks, respectively. These variables were independent factors associated with SVR in multivariate analysis. Among 99 patients who showed a delayed virologic response and completed 72-week extended regimen, the area under ROC curve was low: 0.516 for 4-week reduction and 0.482 for 12-week reduction of HCV RNA levels, respectively.
The reduction in HCV RNA levels 4 and 12 weeks after starting combination therapy is a strong independent predictor for SVR overall. These variables were not useful for predicting SVR in patients who showed a slow virologic response and experienced 72-week extended regimen.
Chronic hepatitis C; Peginterferon; Ribavirin; Reduction in HCV RNA levels; Four and twelve weeks; Baseline factors; Response-guided therapy; Extended treatment
The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of nutritional supplementation with branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) with zinc component (Aminofeel®) on adherence to and outcome of therapy in patients treated with interferon (IFN) for chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis and to determine whether to recommend the supplement.
In this retrospective study, 51 patients who received IFN therapy were investigated among 203 consecutive patients who visited our hospital and were advised regarding the potential benefit of taking Aminofeel®. Each patient was free to choose whether to purchase and take Aminofeel®.
Twenty four patients (group 1-A) took Aminofeel® during standard IFN therapy and 13 (group 1-B) did not. Low-dose, long-term IFN (maintenance) therapy, mainly peglated (Peg)-IFN alpha 2a, was administered to 14 patients who were difficult to treat, because of no effect or harmful side effects with standard IFN therapy, and who had advanced liver fibrosis. Among the 14, 11 patients (group 2-A) took Aminofeel® and 3 (group 2-B) did not. The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher (P=0.04) in group 1-A than in group 1-B. The rate of adherence to IFN therapy was higher in group 1-A (83.3%) than in group 1-B (53.8%, P=0.05). There were no significant differences between the two groups in the rates of sustained virological response (SVR) to IFN therapy. According to multivariate analysis, two factors, SVR and intake of Aminofeel®, were associated with successful adherence to IFN therapy. The adjusted odds ratios for these two factors were 13.25 and 12.59, respectively, and each was statistically significant. The SVR rate of maintenance IFN therapy was in 18.2% group 2-A and 0% in group 2-B.
Our data show that BCAA intake is useful for adherence to and effect of IFN therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis C. Nutritional supplementation with BCAA seems to be useful for HCV-infected patients receiving IFN therapy because it is impossible to introduce standard treatment for all patients among Japan's aging population.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA); Interferon (IFN); Hepatitis C virus (HCV); Standard IFN therapy; Low-dose long-term IFN therapy
Oral lichen planus (OLP) is seen frequently in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of oral candidiasis, other mucosal lesions, and xerostomia during interferon (IFN) therapy for HCV infection.
Of 124 patients with HCV-infected liver diseases treated with IFN therapy in our hospital, 14 (mean age 56.00 ± 12.94 years) who attended to receive administration of IFN once a week were identified and examined for Candida infection and other oral lesions and for the measurement of salivary flow. Serological assays also were carried out.
Cultures of Candida from the tongue surfaces were positive in 7 (50.0%) of the 14 patients with HCV infection at least once during IFN therapy. C. albicans was the most common species isolated. The incidence of Candida during treatment with IFN did not increase above that before treatment. Additional oral mucosal lesions were observed in 50.0% (7/14) of patients: OLP in three (21.4%), angular cheilitis in three (21.4%) and recurrent aphthous stomatitis in one (7.1%). OLP occurred in one patient before treatment with IFN, in one during treatment and in one at the end of treatment. 85.7% of the oral lesions were treated with topical steroids. We compared the characteristics of the 7 patients in whom Candida was detected at least once during IFN therapy (group 1) and the 7 patients in whom Candida was not detected during IFN therapy (group 2). The prevalence of oral mucosal lesions (P=0.0075) and incidence of external use of steroids (P=0.0308) in group 1 were significantly higher than in group 2. The average body weight of group 1 decreased significantly compared to group 2 (P=0.0088). Salivary flow decreased in all subjects throughout the course of IFN treatment and returned at 6th months after the end of treatment. In group 1, the level of albumin at the beginning of the 6th month of IFN administration was lower than in group 2 (P=0.0550). According to multivariate analysis, one factor, the presence of oral mucosal lesions, was associated with the detection of Candida. The adjusted odds ratio for the factor was 36.00 (95% confidence interval 2.68-1485.94).
We should pay more attention to oral candidiasis as well as other oral mucosal lesions, in patients with weight loss during IFN treatment.
A decreased serum level of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) is a distinctive metabolic disorder in patients with liver cirrhosis. Recently, BCAA has been reported to exert various pharmacological activities, and valine, which is a BCAA, has been shown to affect lipid metabolism and the immune system in in vivo experiments. However, the clinical impact of valine supplementation on viral hepatitis C virus (HCV) load has never been reported. Here, we first describe a case of HCV-related advanced liver cirrhosis that was treated by an oral valine agent. The administration of valine resulted in an improvement of fatigue and a reduction in hepatic fibrosis indexes as well as serum α-fetoprotein level. Furthermore, a marked reduction in HCV RNA levels was seen after valine treatment. The patient was then treated by interferon β, resulting in the successful eradication of chronic HCV infection. Thus, valine may be involved in the reduction of HCV viral load and could support a sustained virologic response to interferon therapy.
Valine; Branched-chain amino acid; Hepatitis C virus; Viral kinetics
No study has compared the long-term prognoses of hepatitis C patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody-negative individuals and investigated the effects of interferon (IFN) treatment. To clarify the long-term prognosis of HCV-positive residents of an isolated Japanese island and prospectively investigate the effects of IFN treatment in comparison with the HCV-negative general population.
HCV antibody was positive in 1,343 (7.6%) of the 17,712 individuals screened. 792 HCV RNA-positive, HBsAg-negative subjects were enrolled. 1,584 HCV antibody-negative, HBsAg-negative general residents were sex- and age-matched to the 792 subjects. A total of 154 <70-year-old patients without liver cirrhosis (LC) or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) underwent IFN treatment. The survival rate with all-cause death as the endpoint was determined and causes of death were compared.
The 10- and 20-year survival rates of the hepatitis C and general resident groups were 65.4% and 87.8%, and 40.8% and 62.5%, respectively (p < 0.001; hazard risk ratio, 0.444; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.389–0.507). There were 167 liver disease-related deaths and 223 deaths from other causes in the hepatitis C group, and 7 and 451, respectively, in the general resident group. Liver disease-related death accounted for 43.8% and 1.5% of deaths in the hepatitis C and general resident groups (p < 0.0001). The cumulative survival rate of the hepatitis C patients without IFN (n = 328) was significantly lower than the gender- and age-matched general resident group (n = 656) (p < 0.0001) but there was no significant difference between the IFN-treated (n = 154) and general resident groups (n = 308).
In the hepatitis C group, the proportion of liver disease-related death was markedly higher, and the survival rate lower, than the general resident group. Introduction of IFN treatment in <70-year-old patients with hepatitis C without LC or HCC improved the survival rate to a level comparable to that of the general residents.
Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Prospective cohort study; Interferon; Life expectancy
The aims of this study were to analyze factors motivating the acceptance of interferon (IFN) therapy and to clarify the prevalence of oral mucosal diseases in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected Japanese patients treated with IFN.
A total of 94 HCV-infected patients who were admitted to our hospital for IFN therapy were asked questions regarding their motivation to accept IFN therapy and were investigated for the presence of oral lichen planus (OLP) before and during IFN treatment. Recommendation and encouragement from other people were the most common factors motivating the acceptance of IFN therapy (49/94, 52.13%). The other motivators were independent decision (30.85%), economic reasons (5.32%), and others. According to multivariate analysis, three factors – sex (male), retreatment after previous IFN therapy, and independent decision to accept IFN therapy - were associated with patients after curative treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The adjusted odds ratios for these three factors were 26.06, 14.17, and 8.72, respectively. The most common oral mucosal lesions included OLP in 11 cases (11.70%). One patient with OLP had postoperative squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. The rate of sustained virological response (SVR) was 45.45% in cases with OLP and 54.55% in cases without OLP. There were no patients who discontinued IFN therapy because of side effects such as oral mucosal diseases.
We should give full explanation and recommend a course of treatment for a patient to accept IFN therapy. The system to support liver disease as well as oral diseases is also necessary for patient treated for IFN therapy.
Hepatitis C virus; Interferon therapy; Chronic hepatitis C; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Oral lichen planus
A 67-year-old Asian woman was referred to Kurume University Hospital due to abnormal liver function tests. She was diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD was treated by diet therapy with medication of metformin and pioglitazone; however, NAFLD did not improve. Subsequently, the patient was administered sitagliptin. Although her energy intake and physical activity did not change, her hemoglobin A1c level was decreased from 7.8 to 6.4% 3 months after treatment. Moreover, her serum insulin level and homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance value were also improved, as was the severity of hepatic steatosis. These findings indicate that sitagliptin may improve insulin resistance and steatosis in patients with refractory NAFLD.
Dipeptidyl peptidase IV; Incretin; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Glucose intolerance; Diabetes
Eltrombopag is an oral thrombopoietin receptor agonist that stimulates thrombopoiesis and shows higher exposure in East Asian patients than in non-Asian patients. We evaluated the pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of eltrombopag in Japanese patients with thrombocytopenia associated with chronic liver disease (CLD).
Thirty-eight patients with CLD and thrombocytopenia (platelets <50,000/μL) were enrolled in this phase II, open-label, dose-ranging study that consisted of 2 parts. In the first part, 12 patients received 12.5 mg of eltrombopag once daily for 2 weeks. After the evaluation of safety, 26 patients were randomly assigned to receive either 25 or 37.5 mg of eltrombopag once daily for 2 weeks in the second part.
Pharmacokinetics showed that the geometric means of the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) and the area under the curve (AUC) in the 12.5 mg group were 3,413 ng/mL and 65,236 ng h/mL, respectively. At week 2, the mean increases from baseline in platelet counts were 24,800, 54,000, and 60,000/μL in the 12.5, 25, and 37.5 mg groups, respectively. The median platelet counts increased within 2 weeks of the beginning of administration in all groups, and remained at the same level throughout the 2-week post-treatment period in the 12.5 mg group, whereas the platelet counts peaked a week after the last treatment in both the 25 and 37.5 mg groups. Most adverse events reported were grade 1 or 2; 2 patients in the 37.5 mg group had drug-related serious adverse events.
Eltrombopag ameliorated thrombocytopenia in Japanese patients with CLD and thrombocytopenia. The recommended dose for these patients is 25 mg daily for 2 weeks.
Thrombopoietin receptor agonist; Pharmacokinetics; Invasive procedures; Inter-ethnic difference
Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are serious social issues worldwide and driver illness is an important cause of MVAs. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE) is a complex cognitive dysfunction with attention deficit, which frequently occurs in cirrhotic patients independent of severity of liver disease. Although MHE is known as a risk factor for MVAs, the impact of diagnosis and treatment of MHE on MVA-related societal costs is largely unknown. Recently, Bajaj et al demonstrated valuable findings that the diagnosis of MHE by rapid screening using the inhibitory control test (ICT), and subsequent treatment with lactulose could substantially reduce the societal costs by preventing MVAs. Besides the ICT and lactulose, there are various diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies for MHE. In this commentary, we discussed a current issue of diagnostic tools for MHE, including neuropsychological tests. We also discussed the advantages of the other therapeutic strategies for MHE, such as intake of a regular breakfast and coffee, and supplementation with zinc and branched chain amino acids, on the MVA-related societal costs.
Traffic accident; Subclinical hepatic encephalopathy; Coffee; Zinc; Branched chain amino acids
The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Japanese patients with oral lichen planus and identify the impact of amino acid (aa) substitutions in the HCV core region and IFN-sensitivity-determining region (ISDR) of nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) associated with lichen planus.
In this retrospective study, 59 patients (group 1-A) with oral lichen planus among 226 consecutive patients who visited our hospital and 85 individuals (group 1-B, controls) with normal oral mucosa were investigated for the presence of liver disease and HCV infection. Risk factors for the presence of oral lichen planus were assessed by logistic regression analysis. We compared aa substitutions in the HCV core region (70 and/or 91) and ISDR of NS5A of 12 patients with oral lichen planus (group 2-A) and 7 patients who did not have oral lichen planus (group 2-B) among patients (high viral loads, genotype 1b) who received interferon (IFN) therapy in group1-A.
The prevalence of anti-HCV and HCV RNA was 67.80% (40/59) and 59.32% (35/59), respectively, in group 1-A and 31.76% (27/85) and 16.47% (14/85), respectively, in group 1-B. The prevalence of anti-HCV (P < 0.0001) and HCV RNA (P < 0.0001) in group 1-A was significantly higher than those in group 1-B. According to multivariate analysis, three factors - positivity for HCV RNA, low albumin level (< 4.0 g/dL), and history of smoking - were associated with the development of oral lichen planus. The adjusted odds ratios for these three factors were 6.58, 3.53 and 2.58, respectively, and each was statistically significant. No significant differences in viral factors, such as aa substitutions in the core region and ISDR of NS5A, were detected between the two groups (groups 2-A and -B).
We observed a high prevalence of HCV infection in patients with oral lichen planus. Longstanding HCV infection, hypoalbuminemia, and smoking were significant risk factors for the presence of oral lichen planus in patients. It is advisable for Japanese patients with lichen planus to be tested for HCV infection during medical examination.
To investigate the usefulness of single-shot spin-echo echo-planar imaging (SSEPI) sequence for quantifying mild degree of hepatic iron stores in patients with viral hepatitis.
This retrospective study included 34 patients with chronic viral hepatitis/cirrhosis who had undergone histological investigation and magnetic resonance imaging with T2-weighted gradient-recalled echo sequence (T2-GRE) and diffusion-weighted SSEPI sequence with b-factors of 0 s/mm2 (T2-EPI), 500 s/mm2 (DW-EPI-500), and 1000 s/mm2 (DW-EPI-1000).
The correlation between the liver-to-muscle signal intensity ratio, which was generated by regions of interest placed in the liver and paraspinous muscles of each sequence image, and the hepatic iron concentration (µmol/g dry liver), which was assessed by spectrophotometry, was analyzed by linear regression using a spline model. Akaike information criterion (AIC) was used to select the optimal model.
Mean ± standard deviation of the hepatic iron concentration quantified by spectrophotometry was 24.6±16.4 (range, 5.5 to 83.2) µmol/g dry liver. DW-EPI correlated more closely with hepatic iron concentration than T2-GRE (R square values: 0.75 for T2-EPI, 0.69 for DW-EPI-500, 0.62 for DW-EPI-1000, and 0.61 for T2-GRE, respectively, all P<0.0001). Using the AIC, the regression model for T2-EPI generated by spline model was optimal because of lowest cross validation error.
T2-EPI was sensitive to hepatic iron, and might be a more useful sequence for quantifying mild degree of hepatic iron stores in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.
Background SM-11355 is a platinum complex developed to treat hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) via administration into the hepatic artery as a sustained-release suspension in iodized oil. We conducted a multicenter phase II trial in patients with HCC to evaluate the efficacy and safety of SM-11355, using a Zinostatin stimalamer suspension in iodized oil as a reference. Methods Patients with unresectable HCC were randomized 2:1 to receive administration of the SM-11355 or Zinostatin stimalamer suspension into the hepatic artery. A second injection was given 4–12 weeks later. Efficacy was evaluated by CT 3 months after treatment and categorized as therapeutic effect (TE) V to I, where TE V was defined as disappearance or 100% necrosis of all treated tumors. Results A total of 122 patients were evaluated for efficacy and toxicity (SM-11355, n = 83; Zinostatin stimalamer, n = 39). Baseline characteristics were similar in the two groups. The TE V rates were 26.5% (22/83) and 17.9% (7/39) in the SM-11355 and Zinostatin stimalamer groups, respectively. In the SM-11355 group,the most frequent drug-related adverse events (AEs) of ≥ grade 3 were elevated AST, elevated ALT, thrombocytopenia, and hyperbilirubinemia. The AEs with the largest difference between the two groups (SM-11355 vs. Zinostatin stimalamer) were hepatic vascular injury (0 vs. 48.4%) and eosinophilia (84.3 vs. 41.0%). The 2-year and 3-year survival rates were 75.9% vs. 70.3% and 58.4% vs. 48.7%, respectively. Conclusions The results suggest that SM-11355 in iodized oil has similar efficacy to Zinostatin stimalamer and that repeated dosing of SM-11355 is possible without hepatic vascular injury in cases of relapse.
Iodized oil; MIRIPLA; Liver cancer; Suspension; Parallel study
Adiponectin is shown to be inversely associated with development and progression of various cancers. We evaluated whether adiponectin level was associated with the prevalence and histological grade of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and liver fibrosis in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
A case-control study was conducted on 97 HCC patients (cases) and 97 patients (controls) matched for sex, Child-Pugh grade and platelet count in patients with HCV infection. The serum total and high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and examined in their association with the prevalence of HCC. In addition, the relationship between these adiponectin levels and body mass index (BMI), progression of liver fibrosis, and histological grade of HCC was also evaluated. Liver fibrosis was assessed using the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI).
There were no significant differences in the serum total and HMW adiponectin levels between cases and controls. Moreover, there were no inverse associations between serum total and HMW adiponectin levels and BMI in both cases and controls. On the other hand, serum total and HMW adiponectin levels are positively correlated with APRI in both cases (r = 0.491, P<0.001 and r = 0.485, P<0.001, respectively) and controls (r = 0.482, P<0.001 and r = 0.476, P<0.001, respectively). Interestingly, lower serum total (OR 11.76, 95% CI: 2.97–46.66 [P<0.001]) and HMW (OR 10.24, CI: 2.80–37.40 [P<0.001] adiponectin levels were independent risk factors of worse histological grade of HCC.
Our results suggested that serum total and HMW adiponectin levels were predictors of liver fibrosis, but not prevalence of HCC in patients with HCV infection. Moreover, low these adiponectin levels were significantly associated with worse histological grades.
In this study, we examined whether adiponectin suppresses endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) using male transgenic mice expressing nSREBP-1c in adipose tissue, nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice expressing human adiponectin in the liver, and wild-type male mice as the control. Histological findings similar to those observed in liver specimens from patients with NASH were observed in the livers from the nSREBP-1c transgenic mice at 30 weeks of age. By contrast, the NASH-like liver histology was markedly attenuated in age-matched nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice. The nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice showed human adiponectin production in the liver and a restored circulating human adiponectin level. Human adiponectin messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression in the liver was identified in the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice, but adiponectin receptor 1 and 2 mRNA expression in the liver was normal. TNFα mRNA was decreased in the liver of the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice compared with the nSREBP-1c transgenic mice. The protein expressions of X-box-binding protein-1, activating transcription factor 4, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, TNFα and NFκB were down-regulated in liver tissues from the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice. Mouse adiponectin and activating transcription factor 6 expressions were almost the same in the three groups. Post-load plasma glucose levels were significantly lower in the nSREBP-1c/adiponectin double-transgenic mice compared with the nSREBP-1c transgenic mice. These results indicate that adiponectin expressed in the liver suppresses ER stress and attenuates hepatic steatosis, inflammation and insulin resistance in NASH. Adiponectin may open the way to novel therapies for human NASH.
nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; adiponectin; endoplasmic reticulum stress
Oral lichen planus (OLP) decreases the quality of life because it can cause spontaneous pain during eating and tooth-brushing and an uncomfortable feeling in the mouth. In addition, OLP may be associated with HCV-related liver disease.
We investigated the visual analogue scale (VAS) and effects of oral care gel, REFRECARE-H®, on patients with OLP associated with HCV infection.
Nine OLP patients (mean age 67.9 ± 7.6 years) with HCV-related liver diseases were recruited and their VAS score determined along with a biochemical examination of the blood. Types of OLP included erosive (6 patients) and reticular (3). REFRECARE-H®, an oral care gel (therapeutic dentifrice) containing hinokitiol, was applied by each patient as a thin layer on the oral membrane, after each meal and at bedtime for 30 days. Application of REFRECARE-H® improved the quality of life in all terms of dry mouth, breath odor, oral freshness, oral pain during rest, oral pain at a mealtimes, taste disorder, loss of appetite, sleep disorder, depressive mood and jitteriness. VAS scores of dry mouth, breath odor, oral freshness, and sleep disorder were significantly increased 30 days after application of REFRECARE-H® (P = 0.01, P = 0.05, P = 0.03, P = 0.04). VAS scores of oral pain at a mealtimes and taste disorder were increased 30 days after application of REFRECARE-H® (P = 0.06). There was an absence of side effects.
REFRECARE-H® improved the quality of life for OLP. It is necessary for the hepatologist to educate patients regarding oral hygiene, as well as provide treatment of liver disease.
Sessile serrated adenoma (SSA) is a proposed precursor of colorectal carcinogenesis. This study aimed to analyze the potential of endoscopy to discriminate SSA from other serrated lesions, specifically traditional serrated adenoma (TSA) and hyperplastic polyp (HP). Of 145 serrated lesions, 111 sessile serrated lesions including 32 TSAs, 25 SSAs and 54 HPs were analyzed for size, color, location and morphologic features using conventional endoscopy and magnifying chromoendoscopy. SSA was preferentially located in the right colon, whereas TSA and HP were located in the left colon. The sizes of SSA and TSA were larger than those of HP. The lesion color was indistinguishable among TSA, SSA and HP. Macroscopically, a pinecone-like or two-tier raised appearance were found more frequently in TSA than in SAA and HP. Under magnified chromoendoscopic observation, the stellar IIIL pit pattern and fern-like appearance were observed more frequently in TSA than in SAA and HP. In conclusion, endoscopic discrimination between SSA and other sessile serrated lesions based on morphological features was difficult. However, size and location of the lesions facilitated diagnosis.
Increased insulin resistance is frequently associated with chronic liver disease and is a pathophysiological feature of hepatogenous diabetes. Distinctive factors including hepatic parenchymal cell damage, portal-systemic shunting and hepatitis C virus are responsible for the development of hepatogenous insulin resistance/diabetes. Although it remains unclear whether insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells is impaired as it is in type 2 diabetes, retinopathic and cardiovascular risk is low and major causes of death in cirrhotic patients with diabetes are liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma and gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Hemoglobin A1c is an inaccurate marker for the assessment and management of hepatogenous diabetes. Moreover, exogenous insulin or sulfonylureas may be harmful because these agents may promote hepatocarcinogenesis. Thus, pathogenesis, cause of death, assessment and therapeutic strategy for hepatogenous insulin resistance/diabetes differ from those for lifestyle-related type 2 diabetes. In this article, we review features of insulin resistance in relationship to chronic liver disease. We also discuss the impact of anti-diabetic agents on interferon treatment and hepatocarcinogenesis.
Viral hepatitis; Hyperinsulinemia; Hypoglycemic drug; Hepatoma
Kupffer cells contribute to the pathogenesis of liver injury in chronic liver disease, yet it is difficult to assess Kupffer cell function either ex vivo or in vivo, since supporting data are limited. The aim of this study was to clarify the relation between Kupffer cell function and hepatocyte function by analyzing the correlation between conventional indices of hepatic functional reserve and both superparamagnetic iron oxide-enhanced MRI (SPIO-MRI) and technetium-99m-galactosyl human serum albumin scintigraphy (Tc-99m-GSA) in patients with chronic viral hepatitis. Consecutive 46 patients (16 patients with chronic hepatitis and 30 patients with cirrhosis) who underwent both SPIO-MRI and Tc-99m-GSA were examined. The patients were aged 46–83 years (median 70) and included 29 men and 17 women. Spearman correlation coefficient was used to analyze the correlations between functional reserve indices and both reduction percentages of liver-to-muscle signal intensity ratio (reduction-%LMR), as a surrogate parameter of Kupffer cell function and Tc-99m-GSA parameters. The usefulness of each parameter as a marker to differentiate Child-Pugh A from Child-Pugh B/C was evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The reduction-%LMR correlated more closely with Child-Pugh score (r=0.77; P<0.001) than did Tc-99m-GSA parameters. For predicting Child-Pugh B/C, ROC analysis revealed that reduction-%LMR (AUC=0.91, P<0.001) was the most useful parameter and at a cutoff value of 50% or less, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were 0.79, 0.91, 0.94 and 0.71, respectively. SPIO-MRI may be a helpful non-invasive method for the evaluation of hepatic functional reserve, and this study suggests that Kupffer cell function is closely correlated with hepatocyte function in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.
chronic viral hepatitis; superparamagnetic iron oxide-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging; scintigraphy using technetium-99m-labelled galactosyl human serum albumin; Kupffer cell function; hepatic function reserve
Metronomic chemotherapy involves frequent, regular administration of cytotoxic drugs at nontoxic doses, usually without prolonged breaks. We investigated the therapeutic efficacies of metronomic S-1, an oral 5-fluorouracil prodrug, and vandetanib, an epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in models of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
We compared anti-HCC effects and toxicity in the six treatment groups: control (untreated), maximum tolerated dose (MTD) S-1, metronomic S-1, vandetanib, MTD S-1 with vandetanib, and metronomic S-1 with vandetanib. Tumor microvessel density (MVD) and tumor apoptosis were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The expression of VEGF and thrombospondin-1, an endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis, was analyzed by Western blot.
Metronomic S-1 significantly inhibited tumor growth, which was enhanced by combination with vandetanib. With respect to toxicities, MTD S-1 caused severe body weight loss and myelosuppression, whereas metronomic S-1 did not cause any overt toxicities. Moreover, metronomic S-1 or metronomic S-1 with vandetanib prolonged survival, the latter treatment providing the greatest benefit. Metronomic S-1 and metronomic S-1 with vandetanib decreased MVDs and increased apoptosis in tumor tissues. The expression of VEGF in tumor tissues was upregulated by vandetanib and metronomic S-1 with vandetanib, whereas the expression of thrombospondin-1 was upregulated by metronomic S-1 and metronomic S-1 with vandetanib.
Metronomic S-1 with an antiangiogenic agent seems to be an effective and safe therapeutic strategy for HCC.
Hypoalbuminemia has been shown to be associated with increased mortality. We reported a mass screening in 1990 of X town in Japan, which demonstrated a high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This follow-up study determined, through a period of 12 years, whether serum albumin levels impact on the life prognosis of the residents of X town.
Of the 509 subjects, 69 had died and 55 had moved to other regions by 2002. Therefore, we analyzed 454 people for whom we could confirm life and death between 1990 and 2002. Albumin levels were assigned to two groups, low (<4.0 g/L, group A) and normal (≥4.0 g/L, group B). Of the 454 subjects analyzed, 25 were in group A and 429 in group B and the mortality was 68.0% (17/25 cases, P < 0.00001 vs. group B) and 12.1% (52/429), respectively. Mortality from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was 66.7% in group A (6/9 cases, P = 0.01 vs. group B) and 15.8% (3/19) in group B. According to multivariate analysis, five factors - 50 years or older, low albumin level (<4.0 g/L), abnormal AST level, history of smoking, and absence of alcohol consumption - were associated with death. The adjusted odds ratios for these five factors were 20.65, 10.79, 2.58, 2.24 and 2.08, respectively, and each was statistically significant.
We show that the serum albumin level is an independent risk factor for mortality from all causes in the residents of X town and an important prognostic indicator. Improvement of hypoalbuminaemia should be considered for improvement of prognosis.
There has been little discussion about the importance of oral management and interferon (IFN) therapy, although management of the side effects of therapy for chronic hepatitis C has been documented. This study determined whether dental problems delayed the initiation of IFN therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients.
We analyzed 570 HCV-infected patients who were admitted to our hospital from December 2003 to June 2010 for treatment consisting of pegylated IFN (Peg-IFN) monotherapy or Peg-IFN/ribavirin combination therapy. The group comprised 274 men and 296 women with a mean age 57.2 years. Of the 570 patients, six could not commence Peg-IFN therapy, despite their admission, because of dental problems such as periodontitis, pupitis, and pericoronitis. The ages of six whose dental problems delayed the initiation of Peg-IFN ranged from 25 to 67 years, with a mean age of 47.3 ± 15.2 years. IFN therapy was deferred for 61.3 ± 47.7 days. Among the six subjects for whom IFN treatment was delayed, only one had a salivary flow that was lower than the normal value.
Treatment of dental infections is required before IFN therapy for HCV infection can be started. To increase the depth of understanding of oral health care, it is hoped that dentists and medical specialists in all areas will hold discussions to generate cooperation.
The mechanism by which entecavir resistance (ETVr) substitutions of hepatitis B virus (HBV) can induce breakthrough (BT) during ETV therapy is largely unknown. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 49 lamivudine (LVD)-refractory patients and 59 naïve patients with chronic hepatitis B. BT was observed in 26.8% of the LVD-refractory group during weeks 60 to 144 of ETV therapy. A line probe assay revealed ETVr substitutions only in the LVD-refractory group, i.e., in 4.9% of patients at baseline, increasing to 14.6%, 24.4%, and 44.8% at weeks 48, 96, and 144, respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, HBV DNA levels, and LVD resistance (LVDr) (L180M and M204V, but not M204I) indicated that T184 substitutions and S202G (not S202C) were a significant factor for BT (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 141.12, and 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.94 to 2,870.20; OR, 201.25, and 95% CI, 11.22 to 3608.65, respectively). Modeling of HBV reverse transcriptase (RT) by docking simulation indicated that a combination of LVDr and ETVr (T184L or S202G) was characterized by a change in the direction of the D205 residue and steric conflict in the binding pocket of ETV triphosphate (ETV-TP), by significantly longer minimal distances (2.2 Å and 2.1 Å), and by higher potential energy (−117 and −99.8 Kcal/mol) for ETV-TP compared with the wild type (1.3 Å; −178 Kcal/mol) and LVDr substitutions (1.5 Å; −141 Kcal/mol). Our data suggest that the low binding affinity of ETV-TP for the HBV RT, involving conformational change of the binding pocket of HBV RT by L180M, M204V plus T184L, and S202G, could induce BT.
The mechanism responsible for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the setting of oxidative stress has yet to be clearly defined. We studied the role of oxidative stress in hepatocarcinogenesis in subjects without underlying chronic viral hepatitis. The subjects were 24 patients negative for serum hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis C antibody tests, who underwent hepatic resection for HCC (Group N). Subjects were excluded if diagnosed with liver disease predisposing to HCC. Immunohistochemical staining for oxidative stress-related markers was performed on non-cancerous liver regions. Resected liver tissues adjacent to HCC from 24 patients with chronic hepatitis B (Group B) and 21 patients with chronic hepatitis C (Group C) were also examined. The percentage of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine-positive hepatocytes in Group N was significantly lower than that in Group B and that in the combined population of Groups B and C. The percentage of the area positive for 4-hydroxynonenal in Group N was significantly higher than that in Groups B or C. Meanwhile, the percentage of the area positive for manganese superoxide dismutase in Group N was not different from that in Groups B and C. In conclusion, the mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis through oxidative stress for patients without known liver disease predisposing to HCC may differ from that for patients with chronic viral hepatitis.
hepatocarcinogenesis; hepatoma; oxidative stress