Area of Fibrosis Predictive of HCV Course

The area of fibrosis early in hepatitis C virus infection may be predictive of evolution from chronic disease to cirrhosis, according to a report from Japan.

Researcher Masayoshi Kage and colleagues found that area of fibrosis in the initial biopsy related significantly to the period of evolution of hepatitis C disease

Title: Long-term evolution of fibrosis from chronic hepatitis to cirrhosis in patients with hepatitis C: morphometric analysis of repeated biopsies

To clarify the characteristics of fibrosis developed in the process from chronic hepatitis C to cirrhosis, a morphometric analysis of liver biopsy samples was conducted on 25 chronic hepatitis C patients and 20 chronic hepatitis B patients (controls). Hepatitis C patients were followed up for 3 to 23 years. The mean number of liver biopsies performed on these patients was 3.8. Each biopsy was evaluated for the degree of fibrosis by using two methods: a semiquantitative method with a staging scoring system, and morphometry using a computed image analysis system. A significant correlation was observed between the Stage and the area of fibrosis (AF = the ratio of the area of fibrosis to that of the entire tissue specimen). The AF in cirrhosis was significantly higher in hepatitis C patients than in hepatitis B patients. The ratio of AF in the last biopsy sample to AF in the initial biopsy sample was significantly higher in hepatitis C patients than in hepatitis B patients. Evolution from chronic hepatitis C to cirrhosis occurred more frequently in patients aged greater than or = 50 years, and this time period was 1.8 times shorter than that in patients aged less than 50 years. AF in the initial biopsy related significantly to the period of evolution from chronic hepatitis C to cirrhosis. AF in the initial biopsy might be a preditive factor for prognosis.

Author: Kage M, Shimamatu K, Nakashima E, Kojiro M, Inoue O, Yano M, First Department of Pathology, Kurume University School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan.; Source: Hepatology 25 (4): 1028-1031 (1997)

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