Digestive diseases and sciences 2018 01 12() doi 10.1007/s10620-017-4860-z
BACKGROUND AND AIM
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis, one of the most common etiologies of liver cirrhosis in the Western world, is a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma. To confirm and improve current effectiveness of screening and prognosis of patients with established cirrhosis, a credible, simple plasma biomarker is needed. Hepatic stellate cell activation, a pivotal event in cirrhosis development, results in increased secretion of extracellular matrix proteins, including tenascin-C (TnC). Herein, we tested TnC as a simple biomarker to identify cirrhotic patients with active HCV infection from those with HCV eradication.
A prospective study of subjects with HCV-related cirrhosis, stratified into two groups, HCV or virologic cure, was conducted. Plasma TnC expression was measured by ELISA and Western blots. TnC values were correlated with markers of liver injury and ROC analyses performed between groups.
The HCV cirrhotic cohort, consisting mostly of men (56%), Caucasians (76%), and genotype 1a or 1b (84%), was compared to healthy controls (HCs). Plasma TnC was significantly higher in HCV cirrhotic patients with active infection compared to HCs (P < 0.0001) and virologic cure (P < 0.0001). TnC concentrations in virologic cure subjects were not statistically different from HCs. TnC levels correlated with AST, platelets, MELD, APRI, FIB-4, and Child-Pugh score. TnC and AST together were significantly better indicators of cirrhosis in patients with active HCV infection than other markers tested. CONCLUSIONS
TnC and AST provided the best model for discriminating HCV cirrhotics with active infection from HC and virologic cure cohorts over current liver injury markers, suggesting TnC as a potential indicator of ongoing hepatic injury and inflammation.