Hepatic fibrosis: Are any of the serum markers useful?
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There is a clinical need for noninvasive measurement of liver fibrosis both to diagnose significant liver fibrosis and to monitor the effects of therapy on fibrogenesis and fibrolysis. Multiple clinical markers have been evaluated over the years, and as our understanding of the molecular process of liver scarring has advanced, newer markers have appeared. Serum markers include extracellular matrix proteins such as the N-terminal propeptide of collagen III, hyaluronan, YKL-40, laminin, metalloproteinases, and their inhibitors. Use of multiple markers has led to 90% sensitivity in diagnosing cirrhosis, but specificity is variable at about 60%. Automated systems to measure these markers are under development and are being evaluated for their ability to monitor fibrosis during and after therapy in multiple liver diseases, including hepatitis B and C. Although no individual fibrosis marker is clinically applicable today, we foresee a future in which monitoring fibrosis markers will replace sequential liver biopsy as a standard of care.
KeywordsChronic Hepatitis Hyaluronic Acid Laminin Chronic Liver Disease Liver Fibrosis
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References and Recommended Reading
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