PNPLA3 genotype and fibrosis-4 index predict cardiovascular diseases of Japanese patients with histopathologically-confirmed NAFLD

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Abstract

Background: Reliable noninvasive predictors of the top three causes of death [cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), malignancies, and liver-related events in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)] have not yet been determined. Methods: We retrospectively investigated the incidence of three complications [CVDs, malignancy (except for liver cancer), and liver-related events] in 477 Japanese patients with histo-pathologically confirmed NAFLD for a median follow-up of 5.9 years. In addition to histological findings, we also investigated noninvasive predictors. Results: A score of ≥ 2.67 for the noninvasive diagnosis of stage 4 fibrosis based on the Fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) index indicated a high level area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve (0.90), sensitivity (82.9%), specificity (86.4%), and negative predictive value [(NPV) of 98.5%]. The yearly incidence rates of CVDs, malignancies, and liver-related events were found to be 1.04%, 0.83%, and 0.30%, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified a FIB-4 index ≥ 2.67 score as a significant and independent, noninvasive predictor of these three complications. Furthermore, the cumulative incidence rates of CVDs were significantly different among the three genotypes of PNPLA3. PNPLA3 genotype CC, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and FIB-4 index ≥ 2.67 was could be attributed to these three significant CVD risk factors. The rates of CVDs were significantly different among the three subgroups based on the combination of risk factors. In malignancy (except for liver cancer), the incidence rate of colon cancer was 25.0%; in particular, the rate in females was 53.8%. Conclusions: Our results highlighted the importance of the PNPLA3 genotype and FIB-4 index ≥ 2.67 on the incidence of complications in Japanese patients with NAFLD, especially the incidence of CVDs. Early diagnosis, based on the presence of one or more risk factors, and early treatment might improve the prognosis for NAFLD patients.

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Akuta, N., Kawamura, Y., Arase, Y., Saitoh, S., Fujiyama, S., Sezaki, H., … Kumada, H. (2021). PNPLA3 genotype and fibrosis-4 index predict cardiovascular diseases of Japanese patients with histopathologically-confirmed NAFLD. BMC Gastroenterology, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-021-02020-z

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