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Non-invasive biomarkers prognostic of decompensation events in NASH cirrhosis: a systematic literature review.

Liver cirrhosis due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a life-threatening condition with increasing incidence world-wide. Although its symptoms are unspecific, it can lead to decompensation events such as ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, variceal hemorrhage, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In addition, an increased risk for cardiovascular events has been demonstrated in patients with NASH. Pharmacological treatments for NASH cirrhosis are not yet available, one of the reasons being the lack in surrogate endpoints available in clinical trials of NASH cirrhosis. The feasibility of non-invasive prognostic biomarkers makes them interesting candidates as possible surrogate endpoints if their change following treatment would result in better outcomes for patients in future clinical trials of NASH cirrhosis. In this systematic literature review, a summary of the available literature on the prognostic performance of non-invasive biomarkers in terms of cardiovascular events, liver-related events, and mortality is outlined. Due to the scarcity of data specific for NASH cirrhosis, this review includes studies on NAFLD whose evaluation focuses on cirrhosis. Our search strategy identified the following non-invasive biomarkers with prognostic value in studies of NASH patients: NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS), Fibrosis-4 (FIB-4), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) to platelet ratio index (APRI), enhanced liver fibrosis (ELF™), BARD (BMI, AST/ALT (alanine aminotransferase) ratio, diabetes), Hepamet Fibrosis Score (HFS), liver enzymes (AST + ALT), alpha-fetoprotein, platelet count, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), Lysyl oxidase-like (LOXL) 2, miR-122, liver stiffness, MEFIB (liver stiffness measured with magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) + FIB-4), and PNPLA3 GG genotype. The aim of the present systematic literature review is to provide the reader with a summary of the non-invasive biomarkers with prognostic value in NASH cirrhosis and give an evaluation of their utility as treatment monitoring biomarkers in future clinical trials.

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