Application of prognostic scores in the STOPAH trial: Discriminant function is no longer the optimal scoring system in alcoholic hepatitis

Ewan H Forrest, Stephen R Atkinson, Paul Richardson, Steven Masson, Stephen Ryder, Mark R Thursz, Michael Allison
Journal of Hepatology 2018, 68 (3): 511-518

BACKGROUND & AIMS: 'Static' prognostic models in alcoholic hepatitis, using data from a single time point, include the discriminant function (DF), Glasgow alcoholic hepatitis score (GAHS), the age, serum bilirubin, international normalized ratio and serum creatinine (ABIC) score and the model of end-stage liver disease (MELD). 'Dynamic' scores, incorporating evolution of bilirubin at seven days, include the Lille score. The aim of this study was to assess these scores' performance in patients from the STOPAH trial.

METHODS: Predictive performance of scores was assessed by area under the receiver operating curve (AUC). The effect of different therapeutic strategies upon survival was assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis and tested using the log-rank test.

RESULTS: A total of 1,068 patients were studied. The AUCs for the DF were significantly lower than for MELD, ABIC and GAHS for both 28- and 90-day outcomes: 90-day values were 0.670, 0.704, 0.726 and 0.713, respectively. 'Dynamic' scores and change in 'static' scores by Day 7 had similar AUCs. Patients with consistently low 'static' scores had low 28-day mortalities that were not improved with prednisolone (MELD <25: 8.6%; ABIC <6.71: 6.6%; GAHS <9: 5.9%). In patients with high 'static' scores without gastrointestinal bleeding or sepsis, prednisolone reduced 28-day mortality (MELD: 22.2% vs. 28.9%, p = 0.13; ABIC 14.6% vs. 21%, p = 0.02; GAHS 21% vs. 29.3%, p = 0.04). Overall mortality from treating all patients with a DF ≥32 and Lille assessment (90-day mortality 26.8%) was greater than combining newer 'static' and 'dynamic' scores (90-day mortality: MELD/Lille 21.8%; ABIC/Lille 23.7%; GAHS/Lille 20.6%).

CONCLUSION: MELD, ABIC and GAHS are superior to the DF in alcoholic hepatitis. Consistently low scores have a favourable outcome not improved with prednisolone. Combined baseline 'static' and Day 7 scores reduce the number of patients exposed to corticosteroids and improve 90-day outcome.

LAY SUMMARY: Alcoholic hepatitis is a life-threatening condition. Several scores exist to determine the outcome of these patients as well as to identify those who may benefit from treatment. This study looked at the performance of existing scores in patients who had been recruited to the largest alcoholic hepatitis clinical trial: STOPAH. 'Static' scores are calculable at the start of assessment. The three newer static scores (ABIC, GAHS and MELD) were shown to be superior to the oldest score (DF). ABIC and GAHS could also identify patients who had a survival benefit 28 days after starting prednisolone treatment. 'Dynamic' scores relate to the change in disease over the first week of treatment. Combination of the 'static' scores 'with the 'dynamic' scores or change in 'static' scores allowed identification of patients who could benefit from prednisolone up to 90 days.

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