Current and Emerging Biomarkers and Imaging Modalities for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Clinical and Research Applications

Hydes, T ORCID: 0000-0002-7768-6886, Brown, E, Hamid, A, Bateman, AC and Cuthbertson, DJ ORCID: 0000-0002-6128-0822
(2021) Current and Emerging Biomarkers and Imaging Modalities for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Clinical and Research Applications. Clinical Therapeutics, 43 (9). pp. 1505-1522.

[img] Text
Clinical Therapeutics_Version 2.0_CLEAN.docx - Author Accepted Manuscript

Download (196kB)


<h4>Purpose</h4>Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a metabolic disorder that frequently coexists with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. The NAFLD spectrum, ranging from hepatic steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis, can be associated with long-term hepatic (hepatic decompensation and hepatocellular carcinoma) and extrahepatic complications. Diagnosis of NAFLD requires detection of liver steatosis with exclusion of other causes of chronic liver disease. Screening for NAFLD and identification of individuals at risk of end-stage liver disease represent substantial challenges that have yet to be met. NAFLD affects up to 25% of adults, yet only a small proportion will progress beyond steatosis to develop advanced disease (steatohepatitis and fibrosis) associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Identification of this cohort has required the gold standard liver biopsy, which is both invasive and expensive. The use of serum biomarkers and noninvasive imaging techniques is an area of significant clinical relevance. This narrative review outlines current and emerging technologies for the diagnosis of NAFLD, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and hepatic fibrosis.<h4>Methods</h4>We reviewed the literature using PubMed and reviewed national and international guidelines and conference proceedings to provide a comprehensive overview of the evidence.<h4>Findings</h4>Significant advances have been made during the past 2 decades that have enhanced noninvasive assessment of NAFLD without the need for liver biopsy. For the detection of steatosis, abdominal ultrasonography remains the first-line investigation, although a controlled attenuation parameter using transient elastography is more sensitive. For detecting fibrosis, noninvasive serum markers of fibrosis and algorithms based on routine biochemistry are available, in addition to transient elastography. These techniques are well validated and have been incorporated into national and international screening guidelines. These approaches have facilitated more judicious use of liver biopsy but are yet to entirely replace it. Although serum biomarkers present a pragmatic and widely available screening approach for NAFLD in large population-based studies, magnetic resonance imaging techniques offer the benefit of achieving high degrees of accuracy in disease grading, tumor staging, and assessing therapeutic response.<h4>Implications</h4>This diagnostic clinical and research field is rapidly evolving; increasingly combined applications of biomarkers and transient elastography or imaging of selective (intermediate or high risk) cases are being used for clinical and research purposes. Liver biopsy remains the gold standard investigation, particularly in the context of clinical trials, but noninvasive options are emerging, using multimodality assessment, that are quicker, more tolerable, more widely available and have greater patient acceptability.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: biomarkers, fibrosis, magnetic resonance imaging, NAFLD, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, steatosis, transient elastography
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Life Courses and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2021 07:27
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:30
DOI: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2021.07.012
Related URLs: