THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The risk for advanced fibrosis is increased for first-degree relatives of probands with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) with advanced fibrosis, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Noting that a pilot study showed that first-degree relatives of probands with NAFLD cirrhosis have an elevated risk for advanced fibrosis, Nobuharu Tamaki, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues aimed to validate these findings using two independent cohorts. The study included 396 first-degree relatives of probands with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis, NAFLD without advanced fibrosis, and non-NAFLD: 220 in a derivation cohort and 176 in a validation cohort. Liver fibrosis was assessed using magnetic resonance elastography and other noninvasive imaging modalities.

The researchers found that the prevalence of advanced fibrosis was 15.6, 5.9, and 1.3 percent for first-degree relatives of probands with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis, NAFLD without advanced fibrosis, and non-NAFLD, respectively, in the derivation cohort, and 14.0, 2.6, and 1.3 percent, respectively, in the validation cohort. Age 50 years or older, male sex, diabetes mellitus, and a first-degree relative with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis were significant predictors of the presence of advanced fibrosis in multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models.

“This study provides new data to justify systematic screening for advanced fibrosis based on family history of advanced fibrosis due to NAFLD,” the authors write. “These data have important implications for clinical practice.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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