, Volume 52, Issue 11, pp 3245-3250
Date: 05 Apr 2007

Serum Concentrations of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I (IGF-I) as a Marker of Liver Fibrosis in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C

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Liver biopsy was until recently the only way of evaluating liver fibrosis. Noninvasive tests for hepatic fibrosis, without potential risks, are desired by clinicians as well as patients. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) synthesis is disturbed in liver fibrosis and reflects the severity of the clinical stage. We assessed serum IGF-I levels in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) to correlate with liver fibrosis and antiviral therapy. Forty patients with CHC and persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase values were enrolled and treated with peginterferon α-2a 180 μg per week plus ribavirin for 24 (n=20) or 48 (n=20) weeks. All patients underwent liver biopsy before treatment (METAVIR fibrosis stage F0, n=13; F1–F2, n=14; F3, n=7; F4, n=6). Serum IGF-I was measured at baseline, at the end of treatment period, and 24 weeks after finishing treatment. Mean IGF-I values were significantly lower in patients with advanced fibrosis (F4, 65.9±17.9 ng/mL) than in the others (F0, 145.2±47.1; F1–F2, 150.3±89.6; and F3, 121.4±35.2 ng/mL; P < .05). Serum IGF-I levels increased during combined therapy, being this increment markedly higher in patients with sustained virologic response. In conclusion, IGF-I synthesis is disturbed in CHC and reflects the severity of the liver fibrosis. Combined therapy improves serum IGF-I levels. IGF-I could represent a good, noninvasive marker of liver fibrosis.