Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and burnt-out NASH
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Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a liver disease characterized by the histological features of steatohepatitis in the absence of significant alcohol consumption. The natural history of NASH is poorly defined. Here we report our experience with a patient to illustrate the clinical course of cirrhotic NASH. A 67-year-old woman was admitted with hematemesis due to the rupture of esophageal varices. Her varices were treated by endoscopic ligation and endoscopic sclerotherapy. Her medical history was unremarkable. Both the patient and her family members were asked about alcohol intake several times during her illness, but all of them denied a history of alcohol intake. She had insulin resistance, as determined by homeostasis model assessment. Serological tests for viral hepatitis were all negative. Viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver disease, iron overload, and metabolic liver disorders were all excluded. Imaging tests failed to reveal any steatosis, because of the presence of severe fibrosis. Liver biopsy showed moderate steatosis, moderate inflammation, ballooning degeneration, and Mallory bodies. We diagnosed NASH associated with cirrhosis based on the clinicopathological features. Almost 2 years later, she developed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and she died of multiple HCCs. At autopsy, tumor invasion was seen throughout liver segment 8. The noncancerous liver showed burnt-out NASH; the steatosis, necroinflammation, ballooning degeneration, and Mallory bodies had all disappeared. In Japan, the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease will increase as obesity has been increasing, so it is important to understand how to diagnose NASH. When a patient has NASH, careful follow-up should be performed.
Key wordsNASH hepatocellular carcinoma cryptogenic cirrhosis burnt-out NASH cirrhosis
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