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1.  Validation of the FIB4 index in a Japanese nonalcoholic fatty liver disease population 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:2.
Background
A reliable and inexpensive noninvasive marker of hepatic fibrosis is required in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). FIB4 index (based on age, aspartate aminotransferase [AST] and alanine aminotransferase [ALT] levels, and platelet counts) is expected to be useful for evaluating hepatic fibrosis. We validated the performance of FIB4 index in a Japanese cohort with NAFLD.
Methods
The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROC) for FIB4 and six other markers were compared, based on data from 576 biopsy-proven NAFLD patients. Advanced fibrosis was defined as stage 3-4 fibrosis. FIB4 index was assessed as: age (yr) × AST (IU/L)/(platelet count (109/L) × √ALT (IU/L))
Results
Advanced fibrosis was found in 64 (11%) patients. The AUROC for FIB4 index was superior to those for the other scoring systems for differentiating between advanced and mild fibrosis. Only 6 of 308 patients with a FIB4 index below the proposed low cut-off point (< 1.45) were under-staged, giving a high negative predictive value of 98%. Twenty-eight of 59 patients with a FIB4 index above the high cut-off point (> 3.25) were over-staged, giving a low positive predictive value of 53%. Using these cutoffs, 91% of the 395 patients with FIB-4 values outside 1.45-3.25 would be correctly classified. Implementation of the FIB4 index in the Japanese population would avoid 58% of liver biopsies.
Conclusion
The FIB4 index was superior to other tested noninvasive markers of fibrosis in Japanese patients with NAFLD, with a high negative predictive value for excluding advanced fibrosis. The small number of cases of advanced fibrosis in this cohort meant that this study had limited power for validating the high cut-off point.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-2
PMCID: PMC3266187  PMID: 22221544
2.  Visceral obesity and the risk of Barrett's esophagus in Japanese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:56.
Background
The association between obesity and the risk of Barrett's esophagus (BE) is unclear. Furthermore, the association between visceral obesity and the risk of BE is entirely unknown.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective study in 163 patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) who underwent both endoscopy and abdominal CT at an interval of less than a year at our institution. BE was endoscopically diagnosed based on the Prague C & M Criteria. The surface areas of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were calculated from CT images at the level of the umbilicus. The correlations between the BMI, VAT, and SAT and the risk of BE were examined by univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results
Sixty-nine of the 163 study participants (42.3%) were diagnosed to have endoscopic BE, which was classified as short-segment BE (SSBE) in almost all of the cases. There were no significant differences in the age or gender distribution between the groups with and without BE. According to the results of the univariate analysis, VAT was significantly associated with the risk of BE; the BMI tended to be higher in the group with BE than in the group without BE, but this relation did not reach statistical significance. VAT was independently associated with the risk of BE even after adjustment for the BMI.
Conclusion
In Japanese patients with NAFLD, obesity tended to be associated with the risk of BE, and this risk appeared to be mediated for the most part by abdominal visceral adiposity.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-56
PMCID: PMC2718904  PMID: 19622165
3.  Macroscopic extent of gastric mucosal atrophy: increased risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Japan 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:34.
Background
We aimed to estimate whether the macroscopic extent of gastric mucosal atrophy is associated with a risk for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma using a case-control study in Japanese subjects, a population known to have a high prevalence of CagA-positive H. pylori infection.
Methods
Two hundred and fifty-three patients who were diagnosed as having esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, and 253 sex- and age-matched controls were enrolled in the present study. The macroscopic extent of gastric mucosal atrophy was evaluated based on the Kimura and Takemoto Classification. A conditional logistic regression model with adjustment for potential confounding factors was used to assess the associations.
Results
Body gastritis, defined endoscopically, was independently associated with an increased risk for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that macroscopic body gastritis may be a risk factor for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Japan. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-34
PMCID: PMC2689248  PMID: 19450276
4.  Outcomes and factors influencing survival in cirrhotic cases with spontaneous rupture of hepatocellular carcinoma: a multicenter study 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:29.
Background
Spontaneous rupture is rare complication of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with high mortality rate in cirrhotic cases. The aim of this study was to determine the factors influencing prognosis in cases of spontaneously ruptured HCC and to investigate the outcomes of the treatments employed, especially transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE).
Methods
A retrospective multicenter study was conducted in 48 cirrhotic patients with spontaneous rupture of HCC. Conservative treatment was employed in 32 patients (ConT group) and TAE was performed in 16 patients (TAE group).
Results
The median survival time (MST) in the ConT group was only 13.1 days and the survival rate was extremely poor: 59.4% at 7 days, 37.5% at 14 days, and 6.3% at 30 days. On the other hand, the MST in the TAE group was 244.8 days and the survival rate was 87.5% at 1 month, 56.3% at 3 months, 23.4% at 12 months, and 15.6% at 24 months. According to the results of univariate analyses, factors associated with poor hepatic function and poor suitability for TAE was important determinants of short-term death (less than 3 weeks) among the patients (p < 0.05). On the other hand, among the patients in whom initial TAE was successfully performed (n = 15), a multivariate analysis showed that a maximum tumor size not exceeding 7 cm was the only independent factor determining long-term survival (p = 0.0130).
Conclusion
Despite the inherent limitations of this retrospective study, TAE appears to be a useful treatment strategy for cirrhotic patients with spontaneous HCC rupture, as it yielded a longer survival period compared with conservative treatment in patients with ruptured HCC. Among the patients with ruptured HCC in whom initial TAE was successfully performed, the maximum tumor size was an important factor influencing survival.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-29
PMCID: PMC2685387  PMID: 19405938
5.  Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of erosive esophagitis and Barrett's epithelium in Japanese men 
BMC Gastroenterology  2008;8:58.
Background
Evidence regarding the association between alcohol consumption and the gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) spectrum has been conflicting. We examined the association between alcohol consumption and erosive esophagitis and Barrett's epithelium in Japanese men.
Methods
The study population comprised 463 men subjects who had undergone an upper endoscopy at the Gastroenterology Division of Yokohama City University Hospital between August 2005 and July 2006. The presence of erosive esophagitis and Barrett's epithelium was diagnosed based on the Los Angeles Classification and the Prague C and M Criteria, respectively. We divided the study population into four groups: never drinkers, light drinkers (less than 25.0 g of ethanol per day), moderate drinkers (25.0 to 50.0 g of ethanol per day), and heavy drinkers (more than 50.0 g of ethanol per day). A linear regression of the logistic regression analysis was used to analyze the dose-response trends.
Results
Compared with never drinkers, light drinkers (less than 25.0 g ethanol per day), moderate drinkers (25.0 to 50.0 g per day), and heavy drinkers (more than 50.0 g per day) had ORs for erosive esophagitis of 1.110 (95% CI: 0.553 – 2.228, p = 0.7688), 1.880 (95% CI: 1.015 – 3.484, p = 0.0445) and 1.988 (95% CI: 1.120 – 3.534, p = 0.0190), respectively. These groups had ORs for Barrett's epithelium of 1.278 (95% CI: 0.752 – 2.170, p = 0.3643), 1.458 (95% CI: 0.873 – 2.433, p = 0.1500), and 1.912 (95% CI: 1.185 – 3.086, p = 0.0079), respectively. The odds ratios/grams (alcohol)/day of dose response trends for erosive esophagitis and Barrett's epithelium were 1.015 (95% CI: 1.004–1.026, p = 0.0066) and 1.012 (95% CI: 1.003–1.021, p = 0.0079), respectively.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that alcohol consumption in Japanese men tends to be associated with an increased risk of erosive esophagitis and Barrett's epithelium.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-8-58
PMCID: PMC2615024  PMID: 19077221
6.  Plasma Pentraxin3 is a Novel Marker for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) 
BMC Gastroenterology  2008;8:53.
Background
The changes in the liver in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) range over a wide spectrum, extending from steatosis to steatohepatitis (NASH). However it has remained difficult to differentiate between NASH and non-progressive NAFLD on the basis of the clinical findings alone.
Aims
In this study we investigated the clinical usefulness of plasma Pentraxin3 (PTX3) levels to predict NASH. Plasma PTX3 was measured in 70 patients with histologically verified NAFLD (28 with non-NASH and 42 with NASH) and 10 healthy control subjects.
Results
The plasma PTX3 level was significantly higher in the NASH cases than in the non-NASH cases (p = 0.0021) and control subjects (p = 0.045). And the plasma PTX3 level was significantly higher in the stages 3–4 NAFLD cases than in the stages 0–2 NAFLD cases (p < 0.0001). The PTX3 values were closely correlated with the stages of liver fibrosis (p < 0.0001, Kruskal-Wallis test). To detect NASH compared with non-NASH, the area under the curve for plasma PTX3 were 0.755, and to detect stages 3–4 NAFLD compared with stages 0–2 NAFLD, the area under the curve for plasma PTX3 were 0.850.
Conclusion
This is the first study to demonstrate consistent and profound elevation of plasma PTX3 levels in NASH in comparison with non-NASH. The results suggest that plasma PTX3 levels may not only be laboratory values that differentiate NASH from non-NASH, but marker of the severity of hepatic fibrosis in NASH.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-8-53
PMCID: PMC2621235  PMID: 19014569
7.  Association between PPARGC1A polymorphisms and the occurrence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) 
BMC Gastroenterology  2008;8:27.
Background
Genetic factors as well as environmental factors are important in the development of NAFLD and in this study we investigated associations between polymorphisms of peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α polymorphism (PPARGC1A) and NAFLD.
Aims
We recruited 115 patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD, 65 with NASH and 50 with simple steatosis, and 441 healthy control subjects and investigated 15 SNPs of PPARGC1A.
Results
SNP rs2290602 had the lowest p value in the dominant mode (p = 0.00095), and the odds ratio for NAFLD (95% CI) was 2.73 (1.48 – 5.06). rs2290602 was significantly associated with NAFLD even when the most conservative Bonferroni's correction was applied (p = 0.0143). The frequency of the T allele of rs2290602 was significantly higher in the NASH patients than in the control subjects (p = 0.00093, allele frequency mode), and its frequency in the NASH patients tended to be higher than in the simple steatosis patients (p = 0.09). The results of the real-time RT-PCR study showed that intrahepatic mRNA expression of PPARGC1A was lower in the TT group than in the GG or GT group at SNP rs2290602 (p = 0.0454).
Conclusion
This is the first study to demonstrate a significant association between genetic variations in PPARGC1A and NAFLD. This finding suggested that PPARGC1A polymorphism and lower expression of PPARGC1A mRNA in the liver are an important genetic contribution to etiology of NAFLD.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-8-27
PMCID: PMC2453128  PMID: 18588668
8.  Rebleeding rate after interventional therapy directed by capsule endoscopy in patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding 
BMC Gastroenterology  2008;8:12.
Background
The precise role of capsule endoscopy in the diagnostic algorithm of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding has yet to be determined. Despite the higher diagnostic yield of capsule endoscopy, the actual impact on clinical outcome remains poorly defined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the follow-up results of patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding to determine which management strategies after capsule endoscopy reduced rebleeding.
Methods
All patients in whom the cause of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding was investigated between May 2004 and March 2007 were studied retrospectively. We evaluated the clinical outcome of patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding after capsule endoscopy using the rebleeding rate as the primary outcome.
Results
Seventy-seven patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding underwent capsule endoscopy. Capsule endoscopy identified clinically significant findings that were thought to be the sources of obscure gastrointestinal bleeding in 58.4% of the patients. The overall rebleeding rate was 36.4%. The rebleeding rate was significantly higher among patients with insignificant findings than among those with significant findings (p = 0.036). Among the patients in whom capsule endoscopy produced significant findings, the rebleeding rate of the patients who underwent therapeutic interventions was significantly lower than that in those who did not undergo intervention (9.5% vs 40.0%, p = 0.046).
Conclusion
Follow-up and further aggressive interventions are necessary for patients with obscure gastrointestinal bleeding and significant capsule endoscopy findings to reduce the chance of rebleeding.
doi:10.1186/1471-230X-8-12
PMCID: PMC2447670  PMID: 18430253

Results 1-8 (8)