Diagnosis of liver fibrosis: present and future

Keyur Patel, Pierre Bedossa, Laurent Castera
Seminars in Liver Disease 2015, 35 (2): 166-83
The diagnostic assessment of liver fibrosis, a major determinant of disease severity, is an important step in the management of patients with chronic liver diseases. Liver biopsy is still considered the gold standard for the assessment of necroinflammation and fibrosis; however, recent technical advances have resulted in the development of numerous serum biomarkers and imaging tools as noninvasive alternatives to biopsy. These tests include biological (serum biomarker algorithms), physical (imaging assessment of tissue stiffness), and physiological (breath test) methods. Accumulating evidence shows that noninvasive tests provide prognostic information of clinical relevance, which has led to their incorporation into clinical guidelines and everyday practice. Here, the authors review and compare invasive and noninvasive tests for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis. They discuss emerging functional genomic, microparticle, protein-profiling, and bioimaging tools, focusing on novel sensitive tools that are able to assess the dynamic nature of fibrogenesis, a key requirement for the assessment of the efficacy of antifibrotic compounds in the future.

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