ResearchPad - liver-diseases https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Development and validation a nomogram for predicting the risk of severe COVID-19: A multi-center study in Sichuan, China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15747 Since December 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan and spread across the globe. The objective of this study is to build and validate a practical nomogram for estimating the risk of severe COVID-19.MethodsA cohort of 366 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 was used to develop a prediction model using data collected from 47 locations in Sichuan province from January 2020 to February 2020. The primary outcome was the development of severe COVID-19 during hospitalization. The least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression model was used to reduce data size and select relevant features. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was applied to build a prediction model incorporating the selected features. The performance of the nomogram regarding the C-index, calibration, discrimination, and clinical usefulness was assessed. Internal validation was assessed by bootstrapping.ResultsThe median age of the cohort was 43 years. Severe patients were older than mild patients by a median of 6 years. Fever, cough, and dyspnea were more common in severe patients. The individualized prediction nomogram included seven predictors: body temperature at admission, cough, dyspnea, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic liver disease, and chronic kidney disease. The model had good discrimination with an area under the curve of 0.862, C-index of 0.863 (95% confidence interval, 0.801–0.925), and good calibration. A high C-index value of 0.839 was reached in the interval validation. Decision curve analysis showed that the prediction nomogram was clinically useful.ConclusionWe established an early warning model incorporating clinical characteristics that could be quickly obtained on admission. This model can be used to help predict severe COVID-19 and identify patients at risk of developing severe disease. ]]> <![CDATA[Serum glutamate dehydrogenase activity enables early detection of liver injury in subjects with underlying muscle impairments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14604 Serum activities of alanine and aspartate aminotransferases (ALT and AST) are used as gold standard biomarkers for the diagnosis of hepatocellular injury. Since ALT and AST lack liver specificity, the diagnosis of the onset of hepatocellular injury in patients with underlying muscle impairments is severely limited. Thus, we evaluated the potential of glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH) as a liver specific alternative biomarker of hepatocellular injury. In our study, serum GLDH in subjects with Duchene muscular dystrophy (DMD) was equivalent to serum GLDH in age matched healthy subjects, while serum ALT was increased 20-fold in DMD subjects. Furthermore, serum GLDH in 131 subjects with variety of muscle impairments was similar to serum GLDH of healthy subjects while serum ALT corelated with serum creatine kinase, a widely accepted biomarker of muscle impairment. In addition, significant elevations of ALT, AST, and CK were observed in a case of a patient with rhabdomyolysis, while serum GLDH stayed within the normal range until the onset of hypoxia-induced liver injury. In a mouse model of DMD (DMDmdx), serum GLDH but not serum ALT clearly correlated with the degree of acetaminophen-induced liver injury. Taken together, our data support the utility of serum GLDH as a liver-specific biomarker of liver injury that has a potential to improve diagnosis of hepatocellular injury in patients with underlying muscle impairments. In drug development, GLDH may have utility as a biomarker of drug induced liver injury in clinical trials of new therapies to treat muscle diseases such as DMD.

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<![CDATA[Ablation of <i>Iah1</i>, a candidate gene for diet-induced fatty liver, does not affect liver lipid accumulation in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14595 Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a pathological condition caused by excess triglyceride deposition in the liver. The SMXA-5 severe fatty liver mouse model has been established from the SM/J and A/J strains. To explore the genetic factors involved in fatty liver development in SMXA-5 mice, we had previously performed quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis, using (SM/J×SMXA-5)F2 intercross mice, and identified Fl1sa on chromosome 12 (centromere-53.06 Mb) as a significant QTL for fatty liver. Furthermore, isoamyl acetate-hydrolyzing esterase 1 homolog (Iah1) was selected as the most likely candidate gene for Fl1sa. Iah1 gene expression in fatty liver-resistant A/J-12SM mice was significantly higher than in fatty liver-susceptible A/J mice. These data indicated that the Iah1 gene might be associated with fatty liver development. However, the function of murine Iah1 remains unknown. Therefore, in this study, we created Iah1 knockout (KO) mice with two different backgrounds [C57BL/6N (B6) and A/J-12SM (A12)] to investigate the relationship between Iah1 and liver lipid accumulation. Liver triglyceride accumulation in Iah1-KO mice of B6 or A12 background did not differ from their respective Iah1-wild type mice under a high-fat diet. These results indicated that loss of Iah1 did not contribute to fatty liver. On the other hands, adipose tissue dysfunction causes lipid accumulation in ectopic tissues (liver, skeletal muscle, and pancreas). To investigate the effect of Iah1 deficiency on white adipose tissue, we performed DNA microarray analysis of epididymal fat in Iah1-KO mice of A12 background. This result showed that Iah1 deficiency might decrease adipokines Sfrp4 and Metrnl gene expression in epididymal fat. This study demonstrated that Iah1 deficiency did not cause liver lipid accumulation and that Iah1 was not a suitable candidate gene for Fl1sa.

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<![CDATA[A pilot study of ex-vivo MRI-PDFF of donor livers for assessment of steatosis and predicting early graft dysfunction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14544 The utility of ex vivo Magnetic resonance imaging proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF) in donor liver fat quantification is unknown.PurposeTo evaluate the diagnostic accuracy and utility in predicting early allograft dysfunction (EAD) of ex vivo MRI-PDFF measurement of fat in deceased donor livers using histology as the gold standard.MethodsWe performed Ex vivo, 1.5 Tesla MRI-PDFF on 33 human deceased donor livers before implantation, enroute to the operating room. After the exclusion of 4 images (technical errors), 29 MRI images were evaluable. Histology was evaluable in 27 of 29 patients. EAD was defined as a peak value of aminotransferase >2000 IU/mL during the first week or an INR of ≥1.6 or bilirubin ≥10 mg/dL at day 7.ResultsMRI-PDFF values showed a strong positive correlation (Pearson’s correlation coefficient) when histology (macro-steatosis) was included (r = 0.78, 95% confidence interval 0.57‐0.89, p<0.0001). The correlation appeared much stronger when macro plus micro-steatosis were included (r = 0.87, 95% confidence interval 0.72‐0.94, p<0.0001). EAD was noted in 7(25%) subjects. AUC (Area Under the Curve) for macro steatosis (histology) predicted EAD in 73% (95% CI: 48–99), micro plus macro steatosis in 76% (95% CI: 49–100). AUC for PDFF values predicted EAD in 67(35–98). Comparison of the ROC curves in a multivariate model revealed, adding MRI PDFF values to macro steatosis increased the ability of the model in predicting EAD (AUC: 79%, 95% CI: 59–99), and addition of macro plus micro steatosis based on histology predicted EAD even better (AUC: 90%: 79–100, P = 0.054).ConclusionIn this pilot study, MRI-PDFF imaging showed potential utility in quantifying hepatic steatosis ex-vivo donor liver evaluation and the ability to predict EAD related to severe allograft steatosis in the recipient. ]]> <![CDATA[Improvement of steatotic rat liver function with a defatting cocktail during <i>ex situ</i> normothermic machine perfusion is not directly related to liver fat content]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13803 There is a significant organ shortage in the field of liver transplantation, partly due to a high discard rate of steatotic livers from donors. These organs are known to function poorly if transplanted but make up a significant portion of the available pool of donated livers. This study demonstrates the ability to improve the function of steatotic rat livers using a combination of ex situ machine perfusion and a “defatting” drug cocktail. After 6 hours of perfusion, defatted livers demonstrated lower perfusate lactate levels and improved bile quality as demonstrated by higher bile bicarbonate and lower bile lactate. Furthermore, defatting was associated with decreased gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increased expression of enzymes involved in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. Rehabilitation of marginal or discarded steatotic livers using machine perfusion and tailored drug therapy can significantly increase the supply of donor livers for transplantation.

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<![CDATA[Serum levels of bone sialoprotein correlate with portal pressure in patients with liver cirrhosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd170950f-0b0f-46af-a42d-6b06a3bc49ed

Liver cirrhosis represents the common end-stage of chronic liver diseases regardless of its etiology. Patients with compensated disease are mostly asymptomatic, however, progression to a decompensated disease stage is common. The available stratification strategies are often unsuitable to identify patients with a higher risk for disease progression and a limited prognosis. SIBLINGs, soluble glycophosphoproteins, are secreted into the blood by immune-cells. While osteopontin, the most prominent member of the SIBLINGs family, has been repeatedly associated with liver cirrhosis, data on the diagnostic and/or prognostic value of bone sialoprotein (BSP) are scarce and partly inconclusive. In this study, we analyzed the diagnostic and prognostic potential of circulating BSP in comparison to other standard laboratory markers in a large cohort of patients with liver cirrhosis receiving transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). Serum levels of BSP were similar in patients with different disease stages and were not indicative for prognosis. Interestingly, BSP serum levels did correlate inversely with portal pressure, as well as its surrogates such as platelet count, the portal vein cross-sectional area and correlated positively with the portal venous velocity. In summary, our data highlight that BSP might represent a previously unrecognized marker for portal hypertension in patients with liver cirrhosis.

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<![CDATA[Severe hyperbilirubinemia is associated with higher risk of contrast-related acute kidney injury following contrast-enhanced computed tomography]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N624c57d4-8983-4ece-aecc-e0e7860066cf

Introduction

Contrast-induced acute kidney injury (CI-AKI) is associated with high risks of morbidity and mortality. Hyperbilirubinemia might have some renal protection but with no clear cutoff value for protection. Related studies are typically on limited numbers of patients and only in conditions of vascular intervention.

Methods

We performed this study to elucidate CI-AKI in patients after contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CCT). The outcomes were CI-AKI, dialysis and mortality. Patients were divided to three groups based on their serum levels of total bilirubin: ≤1.2 mg/dl, 1.3–2.0 mg/dl, and >2.0 mg/dl.

Results

We enrolled a total of 9,496 patients who had received CCT. Patients with serum total bilirubin >2.0 mg/dl were associated with CI-AKI. Those undergoing dialysis had the highest incidence of PC-AKI (p<0.001). No difference was found between the two groups of total bilirubin ≤1.2 and 1.3–2.0 mg/dl. Patients with total bilirubin >2mg/dl were associated with CI-AKI (OR = 1.89, 1.53–2.33 of 95% CI), dialysis (OR = 1.40, 1.01–1.95 of 95% CI) and mortality (OR = 1.63, 1.38–1.93 of 95% CI) after adjusting for laboratory data and all comorbidities (i.e., cerebrovascular disease, coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, and acute myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gastrointestinal bleeding, cirrhosis, peritonitis, ascites, hepatoma, shock lung and colon cancer). We concluded that total bilirubin level >2 mg/dl is an independent risk factor for CI-AKI, dialysis and mortality after CCT. These patients also had high risks for cirrhosis or hepatoma.

Conclusion

This is the first study providing evidence that hyperbilirubinemia (total bilirubin >2.0 mg/dl) being an independent risk factor for CI-AKI, dialysis and mortality after receiving CCT. Most patients with total bilirubin >2.0mg/dl had cirrhosis or hepatoma.

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<![CDATA[Toward precision prescribing for methadone: Determinants of methadone deposition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N51499fe4-a854-40f2-ac0e-5bd2b114360f

Background

Despite the World Health Organization listing methadone as an essential medication, effective dose selection is challenging, especially in racial and ethnic minority populations. Subtherapeutic doses can result in withdrawal symptoms while supratherapeutic doses can result in overdose and death. Although CYP3A4 was conventionally considered the principal methadone metabolizing enzyme, more recent data have identified CYP2B6 as the principal enzyme. CYP2B6 has ethnically-associated polymorphisms that affect the metabolic rate. Our objective was to investigate the effects of genetic and nongenetic factors on methadone metabolism.

Methods

We measured trough plasma methadone levels in 100 participants with opioid use disorder. We assessed methadone metabolism by calculating the metabolite ratio (major metabolite: 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine [EDDP] divided by methadone concentration). We assessed hepatic fibrosis and steatosis by transient elastography and CYP2B6 alleles, principally responsible for methadone metabolism. Mixed effects models modeled the data in 97 participants.

Results

Participants were largely male (58%), minority (61% African American) and non-Hispanic (68%). Forty percent were HCV mono-infected, 40% were uninfected, and 20% were HCV/HIV co-infected. Female sex had significant effects on (R)- and (S)-methadone metabolism (p = 0.016 and p = 0.044, respectively). CYP2B6 loss of function (LOF) alleles significantly affected (S)-methadone metabolism (p = 0.012). Body mass index (BMI) significantly affected (R)-methadone metabolism (p = 0.034). Methadone metabolism appeared to be lower in males, in individuals with LOF alleles, and elevated BMI.

Conclusions

Genetic analysis, especially in minority populations, is essential to delivering individualized treatments. Although the principal methadone metabolizing enzyme remains controversial, our results suggest that sex, CYP2B6 genotype, and BMI should be incorporated into multivariate models to create methadone dosing algorithms. Methadone dosing algorithms should facilitate medication delivery, improve patient satisfaction, and diminish overdose potential.

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<![CDATA[Genetic variants of innate immunity receptors are associated with mortality in cirrhotic patients with bacterial infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N1d76945c-b9a9-4bd1-9df9-825045fb85ce

Abstract

Background & Aims

Acute‐on‐chronic liver failure (ACLF) is characterized by acute decompensation of cirrhosis (AD), organ failure(s) and high risk of short‐term mortality with bacterial infection frequently as precipitating event. Innate immune pattern recognition receptors and members of the lectin pathway of complement activation are crucial to the innate immune response to pathogens. The aim of this study was to investigate whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of innate immune components are associated with the occurrence of bacterial infections or mortality in patients with cirrhosis hospitalized for AD or ACLF.

Methods

Twenty‐one innate immunity SNPs with known functional implications were genotyped in 826 AD/ACLF patients included in the CANONIC study. Associations between baseline characteristics of the patients, the occurrence of bacterial infections and survival rate at 90 days of follow‐up in relation to the innate immunity genetic variants were analysed.

Results

The NOD2‐G908R genetic variant was associated with mortality (HR 2.25, P = .004) independently of age and MELD Score. This association was also found in a predefined subgroup analysis in patients with bacterial infections (HR 2.78, P < .001) along with MBL_Yx (HR 1.72, P = .008) and MASP2_371 (HR 1.67, P = .012) genetic variants. None of the analysed SNPs were significantly associated with the occurrence of acute bacterial infections or spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in particular.

Conclusions

Innate immune system‐specific NOD2‐G908R, MBL_Yx and MASP2_371 genetic variants were independently associated with increased risk of short‐term mortality in AD/ACLF patients with bacterial infection.

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<![CDATA[Age-related differences in clinical characteristics of invasive group G streptococcal infection: Comparison with group A and group B streptococcal infections]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accd0d5eed0c48499008b

Purpose

Invasive Group G streptococcal infection (iGGS) has increasingly been recognized as a cause of severe disease, mainly among elderly people with chronic illnesses. This study aimed to examine age-related differences in clinical characteristics of iGGS and describe its characteristics among very elderly individuals (≥80 years).

Methods

Fifty-four iGGS patients for whom detailed clinical information was available were identified from 2002 to 2014 in a tertiary care hospital in Japan. iGGS (n = 54) was compared with invasive Group A (iGAS; n = 17) and B streptococcal infection patients (iGBS; n = 52) based on patient age.

Results

The incidence of iGGS in our catchment area significantly increased during the study period. The prevalence of iGGS in the very elderly population was higher than that of iGAS or iGBS (p<0.001). Among iGGS patients, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, oxygen demand, and bacteremia with unknown focus of infection were more frequent in the very elderly population (p = 0.009, p = 0.02, p = 0.04, and p = 0.04, respectively). Altered mental status was present in half of iGGS patients aged ≥60 years (p = 0.03). In contrast, alcohol drinking and liver cirrhosis were significantly more frequent in patients with iGGS aged <60 years than in other age groups (p<0.001, p = 0.001, respectively). Levofloxacin resistance in GBS isolates was significantly more frequent among very elderly patients than among other age groups (p<0.001).

Conclusions

The burden of iGGS has been increasing in our catchment area. Different iGGS-associated clinical characteristics were found in each age group. Unclear and atypical clinical manifestations and syndromes were likely to be observed in very elderly patients. Alcohol drinking and liver cirrhosis may contribute to iGGS even in patients aged <60 years. Understanding these age-related differences could be helpful for optimal diagnosis and treatment.

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<![CDATA[Influence of donor liver telomere and G-tail on clinical outcome after living donor liver transplantation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acccbd5eed0c484990005

It has been reported that donor age affects patient outcomes after liver transplantation, and that telomere length is associated with age. However, to our knowledge, the impact of donor age and donor liver telomere length in liver transplantation has not been well investigated. This study aimed to clarify the influence of the length of telomere and G-tail from donor livers on the outcomes of living donors and recipients after living donor liver transplantation. The length of telomere and G-tail derived from blood samples and liver tissues of 55 living donors, measured using the hybridization protection assay. The length of telomeres from blood samples was inversely correlated with ages, whereas G-tail length from blood samples and telomere and G-tail lengths from liver tissues were not correlated with ages. Age, telomere, and G-tail length from blood did not affect postoperative liver failure and early liver regeneration of donors. On the other hand, the longer the liver telomere, the poorer the liver regeneration tended to be, especially with significant difference in donor who underwent right hemihepatectomy. We found that the survival rate of recipients who received liver graft with longer telomeres was inferior to that of those who received liver graft with shorter ones. An elderly donor, longer liver telomere, and higher Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score were identified as independent risk factors for recipient survival after transplantation. In conclusion, telomere shortening in healthy liver does not correlate with age, whereas longer liver telomeres negatively influence donor liver regeneration and recipient survival after living donor liver transplantation. These results can direct future studies and investigations on telomere shortening in the clinical and experimental transplant setting.

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<![CDATA[Hepatocellular carcinoma with extrahepatic metastasis: Are there still candidates for transarterial chemoembolization as an initial treatment?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c99029ed5eed0c484b98241

Background and aim

Currently, sorafenib is indicated for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with extrahepatic metastasis (EHM), and many other systemic agents are becoming available. However, a few HCC patients with EHM still undergo transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for intrahepatic tumor control. We aimed to investigate whether TACE is appropriate for patients with EHM, and if so, which subgroup may benefit from TACE.

Methods

A total of 186 consecutive HCC patients (median: 55 years, male: 86.0%, hepatitis B virus: 81.7%, Child-Pugh Class A: 83.3%) with EHM (nodal metastasis: 60.8%, distant metastasis: 39.2%) between 2010 and 2014 were analyzed. Initial treatment included sorafenib in 69 patients, and TACE in 117 patients.

Results

During a median follow-up of 6.6 months (range: 0.2–94.6 months), mortality was observed in 90.3% (168/186). The median survival was better for patients who received TACE than those treated with sorafenib (8.2 months vs. 4.6 months, p < 0.001). However, baseline characteristics varied between patients initially treated with TACE and sorafenib, and the treatment modality was not an independent factor associated with overall survival (hazard ratio: 1.19, 95% confidence interval: 0.81–1.75, p = 0.36). In sub-group analysis, TACE was associated with better survival only among younger patients and those with segmental/lobar portal vein invasion.

Conclusion

In HCC patients with EHM, TACE was not an independent favorable prognostic factor compared to sorafenib. The concept of intrahepatic control in HCC patients with EHM may need to be reevaluated in the era of promising systemic therapies, although there can be specific subgroups who still benefit from TACE.

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<![CDATA[Early predictors of outcomes of hospitalization for cirrhosis and assessment of the impact of race and ethnicity at safety-net hospitals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897747d5eed0c4847d28e2

Background

Safety-net hospitals provide care for racially/ethnically diverse and disadvantaged urban populations. Their hospitalized patients with cirrhosis are relatively understudied and may be vulnerable to poor outcomes and racial/ethnic disparities.

Aims

To examine the outcomes of patients with cirrhosis hospitalized at regionally diverse safety-net hospitals and the impact of race/ethnicity.

Methods

A study of patients with cirrhosis hospitalized at 4 safety-net hospitals in 2012 was conducted. Demographic, clinical factors, and outcomes were compared between centers and racial/ethnic groups. Study endpoints included mortality and 30-day readmission.

Results

In 2012, 733 of 1,212 patients with cirrhosis were hospitalized for liver-related indications (median age 55 years, 65% male). The cohort was racially diverse (43% White, 25% black, 22% Hispanic, 3% Asian) with cirrhosis related to alcohol and viral hepatitis in 635 (87%) patients. Patients were hospitalized mainly for ascites (35%), hepatic encephalopathy (20%) and gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) (17%). Fifty-four (7%) patients died during hospitalization and 145 (21%) survivors were readmitted within 30 days. Mortality rates ranged from 4 to 15% by center (p = .007) and from 3 to 10% by race/ethnicity (p = .03), but 30-day readmission rates were similar. Mortality was associated with Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD), acute-on-chronic liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, sodium and white blood cell count. Thirty-day readmission was associated with MELD and Charlson Comorbidity Index >4, with lower risk for GIB. We did not observe geographic or racial/ethnic differences in hospital outcomes in the risk-adjusted analysis.

Conclusions

Hospital mortality and 30-day readmission in patients with cirrhosis at safety-net hospitals are associated with disease severity and comorbidities, with lower readmissions in patients admitted for GIB. Despite geographic and racial/ethnic differences in hospital mortality, these factors were not independently associated with mortality.

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<![CDATA[Shrinkage of hepatocellular carcinoma after radiofrequency ablation following transcatheter arterial chemoembolization: Analysis of contributing factors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c818e88d5eed0c484cc24bb

Objective

This study was conducted to investigate tumor shrinkage and influencing factors in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from radiofrequency (RF) ablation following transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE).

Methods

A total of 222 patients underwent combined sequential treatment of TACE and RF ablation for HCC at our institution between 2008 and 2014. Of those, 86 patients (men, 68; women, 18) who achieved compact iodized oil tagging and complete ablation were included for this retrospective study. We measured three-dimensional tumor diameters and calculated tumor volumes on pre-treatment CT/MRI and follow-up CT scans performed post-TACE, post-ablation, and 1 month post-treatment, respectively. To compare periodically generated tumor diameters and volumes, repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to identify factors impacting tumor shrinkage after RF ablation.

Results

Diameters and volumes of HCCs declined significantly in the immediate aftermath of RF ablation (i.e., between post-TACE and post-ablation CT scans) (p < 0.001, for both). Mean reduction rates in tumor diameter and volume immediately after RF ablation were 18.2 ± 9.1% and 44.4 ± 14.6%, respectively. Of note, tumors of left hepatic lobe and in subphrenic or perivascular locations showed lower rates of post-ablative volume reduction than those in counterpart locations (p = 0.002, 0.046, 0.024, respectively). Tumor size and liver function did not influence tumor shrinkage after RF ablation.

Conclusion

In patients with HCC, significant tumor shrinkage occurs immediately after RF ablation. The degree of shrinkage in response to ablative treatment seems to vary by tumor location.

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<![CDATA[Real-life experience of lusutrombopag for cirrhotic patients with low platelet counts being prepared for invasive procedures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c70675dd5eed0c4847c6f1c

Background and aims

The present study aimed to report our real-life experience of the TPO receptor agonist lusutrombopag for cirrhotic patients with low platelet counts.

Methods

We studied platelet counts in 1,760 cirrhotic patients undergoing invasive procedures at our hospital between January 2014 and December 2017. In addition, we studied 25 patients who were administered lusutrombopag before invasive procedures between June 2017 and January 2018. Effectiveness of lusutrombopag to raise platelet counts and to avoid transfusion and treatment-related adverse events were analyzed.

Results

In 1,760 cirrhotic patients without lusutrombopag prior to invasive procedures, proportion of patients whose platelet counts <50,000/μL and needed platelet transfusions were 66% (n = 27/41) for radiofrequency ablation, 43% (n = 21/49) for transarterial chemoembolization, and 55% (n = 21/38) for endoscopic injection sclerotherapy / endoscopic variceal ligation, respectively. In 25 cirrhotic patients treated by lusutrombopag prior to the invasive procedures, platelet counts significantly increased compared with baseline (82,000 ± 26,000 vs. 41,000 ± 11,000/μL) (p < 0.01). Out of 25 patients, only 4 patients (16%) needed platelet transfusion before the invasive procedures. The proportion of patients with low platelet count and who needed platelet transfusions was significantly low in patients treated with lusutrombopag compared to those not treated with lusutrombopag (16% (4/25) vs. 54% (69/128), p = 0.001). Platelet counts after lusutrombopag treatment and prior to invasive procedures were lower in patients with a baseline platelet count ≤30,000/μL (n = 8) compared with those with a baseline platelet count >30,000/μL (n = 17) (50,000 ± 20,000 vs 86,000 ± 26,000/μL, p = 0.002). Patients with a baseline platelet count ≤30,000/μL with spleen index (calculated by multiplying the transverse diameter by the vertical diameter measured by ultrasonography) ≥40 cm2 (n = 3) had a lower response rate to lusutrombopag compared to those with spleen index <40 cm2 (n = 5) (0% vs. 100%, p = 0.02). Hemorrhagic complication was not observed. Recurrence of portal thrombosis was observed and thrombolysis therapy was required in one patient who had prior history of thrombosis.

Conclusions

Lusutrombopag is an effective and safe drug for thrombocytopenia in cirrhotic patients, and can reduce the frequency of platelet transfusions.

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<![CDATA[Complex harmonic regularization with differential evolution in a memetic framework for biomarker selection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1534d5eed0c48467aebf

For studying cancer and genetic diseases, the issue of identifying high correlation genes from high-dimensional data is an important problem. It is a great challenge to select relevant biomarkers from gene expression data that contains some important correlation structures, and some of the genes can be divided into different groups with a common biological function, chromosomal location or regulation. In this paper, we propose a penalized accelerated failure time model CHR-DE using a non-convex regularization (local search) with differential evolution (global search) in a wrapper-embedded memetic framework. The complex harmonic regularization (CHR) can approximate to the combination p(12p<1) and q (1 ≤ q < 2) for selecting biomarkers in group. And differential evolution (DE) is utilized to globally optimize the CHR’s hyperparameters, which make CHR-DE achieve strong capability of selecting groups of genes in high-dimensional biological data. We also developed an efficient path seeking algorithm to optimize this penalized model. The proposed method is evaluated on synthetic and three gene expression datasets: breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and colorectal cancer. The experimental results demonstrate that CHR-DE is a more effective tool for feature selection and learning prediction.

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<![CDATA[A novel point-of-care oral anti-HCV assay: Is it reliable for screening hepatitis C virus infection in the era of direct-acting antivirals?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75cfd5eed0c4843d01fd

Recent advance in the direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) offers the potentials to eradicate hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide and makes universal screening more urgent. A point-of-care (POC) oral anti-HCV assay, the Fortune assay, was developed and its performance was evaluated. Individuals with or without HCV infection were recruited in three Centers. Paired oral and serum samples were tested using the Fortune and InTec anti-HCV assays. The Kehua serum anti-HCV assay served as a supplemental test to verify the discordant results. Some oral samples were also tested using the OraQuick anti-HCV assay. Furthermore, the Fortune assay results were compared with the documented RNA results. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the Fortune assay was 93.11%, 98.48%, and 96.58%, respectively (n = 1,022). Consistency between the Fortune and OraQuick assays was 96.35% (264/274); the Fortune assay detected additional 8 positive oral samples missed by the OraQuick assay. The Fortune assay demonstrated a 97.46% (115/118) positivity among the viremic patients. Furthermore, its sensitivity was HCV genotype independent. In conclusion, the Fortune assay was highly specific and accurate. It had comparable sensitivity as the serum assays for the diagnosis of active HCV infection. It provides a completely non-invasive and reliable tool for HCV screening in the DAA era.

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<![CDATA[Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition attenuates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in diet-induced obese mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c673077d5eed0c484f37b8e

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease. NAFLD begins with excessive lipid accumulation in the liver and progresses to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis. NAFLD is closely linked to dysregulated hepatic lipid metabolism. Although recent studies have reported that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling regulates lipid metabolism, the roles of EGFR and EGFR inhibitors as modulators of lipid metabolism are largely unknown. Here, we investigated whether inhibiting EGFR using the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) PD153035 improves NAFLD. Our results demonstrate that EGFR was activated in liver tissues from high fat diet (HFD)-induced NAFLD mice. Inhibiting EGFR using PD153035 significantly reduced phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/protein kinase B signaling and sterol responsive elementary binding protein 1 and 2 expression, which prevented HFD-induced hepatic steatosis and hypercholesterolemia by reducing de novo lipogenesis and cholesterol synthesis and enhancing fatty acid oxidation. Additionally, inhibiting EGFR improved HFD-induced glucose intolerance. In conclusion, these results indicate that EGFR plays an important role in NAFLD and is a potential therapeutic target.

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<![CDATA[Prevalence of malaria and hepatitis B among pregnant women in Northern Ghana: Comparing RDTs with PCR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d4fd5eed0c484c8250b

Background

High prevalence of malaria and hepatitis B has been reported among pregnant women in Ghana. In endemic areas, the diagnoses of malaria and hepatitis B among pregnant women on antenatal visits are done using histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), respectively, which are, however, reported to give some false positive results. Also, socio-economic determinants have been drawn from these RDTs results which may have questionable implications. Thus, this study was aimed at evaluating the prevalence of malaria and hepatitis B by comparing RDTs with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) outcomes, and relating the PCR prevalence with socio-economic status among pregnant women in Northern Ghana.

Methods

We screened 2071 pregnant women on their first antenatal visit for Plasmodium falciparum and hepatitis B virus (HBV) using HRP2 and HBsAg RDTs, and confirming the infections with PCR. Socio-economic and obstetric information were collected using a pre-tested questionnaire, and associations with the infections were determined using Pearson’s chi-square and multinomial logistic regression analyses at a significance level of p<0.05.

Results

The prevalence of the infections by RDTs/PCR was: 14.1%/13.4% for P. falciparum mono-infection, 7.9%/7.5% for HBV mono-infection, and 1.9%/1.7% for P. falciparum/HBV co-infection. No statistical difference in prevalence rates were observed between the RDTs and PCRs (χ2  =  0.119, p = 0.73 for malaria and χ2  =  0.139, p = 0.709 for hepatitis B). Compared with PCRs, the sensitivity/specificity of the RDTs was 97.5%/99.1% and 97.9%/99.4% for HRP2 and HBsAg respectively. Socio-economic status was observed not to influence HBV mono-infection among the pregnant women (educational status: AOR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.52–1.16, p = 0.222; economic status: AOR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.72–1.56, p = 0.739; financial status: AOR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.44–1.00, p = 0.052). However, pregnant women with formal education were at a lower risk for P. falciparum mono-infection (AOR = 0.48, 95% CI  =  0.32–0.71, p<0.001) and P. falciparum/HBV co-infection (AOR = 0.27, 95% CI  =  0.11–0.67, p = 0.005). Also those with good financial status were also at a lower risk for P. falciparum mono-infection (AOR = 0.52, 95% CI  =  0.36–0.74, p<0.001).

Conclusion

Our data has shown that, the RDTs are comparable to PCR and can give a representative picture of the prevalence of malaria and hepatitis B in endemic countries. Also, our results support the facts that improving socio-economic status is paramount in eliminating malaria in endemic settings. However, socio-economic status did not influence the prevalence of HBV mono-infection among pregnant women in Northern Ghana.

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<![CDATA[Phylogenetic analysis of hepatitis C virus among HIV/ HCV co-infected patients in Nigeria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d10d5eed0c484c81eb5

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been associated with liver disease including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in chronically-infected persons. However, in HIV/HCV co-infected patients, increased rate of progression to cirrhosis and HCC has been reported. Limited information exists regarding genetic variants of HCV circulating among co-infected patients, which could be important in the design of broadly protective vaccine and management of the disease. Here, we determined the genotypes of HCV isolates circulating among HIV/HCV co-infected patients in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria. One hundred and twenty-five HIV/HCV IgM positive samples obtained from HIV laboratory, University of Ibadan were used for this study. HCV NS5B gene was amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The amplified NS5B gene was sequenced using gene specific primers. Twenty isolates were amplified, out of which 13 were successfully sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of the 13 sequenced isolates showed three HCV subtypes 1a, 3a and 5a belonging to genotypes 1, 3 and 5 respectively. Ten isolates (77%) belong to subtype 5a, followed by 2 isolates (15%) subtype 1a and 1 isolate (8%) was subtype 3a. The predominant HCV genotype was 5, followed by genotype 1 (subtype 1a). The findings, as well as the observed mutations in NS5B gene, indicate the need for screening and monitoring of HIV/HCV co-infected patients. Further study to determine the phylogeny of isolates circulating in other parts of Nigeria will be carried out.

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