Research Items (280)
- Apr 2019
Background The epidemiology of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is characterized by a dynamical temporal trend of well-established and emerging risk factors. Methods We evaluated the temporal trend of aetiological factors of HCC over the last two decades in Italy. HCC cases were recruited from two previously published national studies in 1996 and in 2008 and HCC cases were also enlisted from two national surveys in 2001 and in 2014 enrolling consecutive subjects with chronic liver disease (CLD) referring to more than 80 liver units scattered all over the country for a 6-month period. Results Out of the 9997 subjects with CLD recruited in 2001 and the 2408 recruited in 2014, 3.3% and 5.7% (P < 0.001), respectively, had HCC. The temporal trend of HBsAg −/HCV + HCC cases significantly linearly decreased from 71.1% in 1996 to 57.2% in 2014 (P < 0.001). Conversely, that of virus-negative cases significantly linearly increased from 12.1% to 28.3% (P < 0.001). The proportion of HBV-related HCC cases showed a steady low rate, reflecting the reduced endemicity of the infection in Italy. The proportion of HCC with compensated cirrhosis (i.e., Child–Pugh A) linearly increased over time from 55.6% in 1996 to 76.0% in 2014 (P < 0.001) reflecting the growing effectiveness of semi-annual ultrasound surveillance for early detection of HCC. Conclusion In conclusion, with decreasing viral aetiology, an overall decrease in the incidence of HCC might be expected in the future. The proportion of metabolic diseases is conversely increasing being considered as an aetiology. The growing prevalence of metabolic disorders in the general population may further increase this trend in the years to come.
Background: The information on the geographical characteristics of chronic liver diseases (CLD) in Italy is out-dated. Aim: To provide up-dated information on the geographical pattern of patients with CLD born in Italy. Methods: Patients with CLD were enrolled in two national surveys performed in 2001 and 2014, which prospectively recruited subjects aged ≥18 years referring to Italian liver units located throughout the country that apply a similar clinical approach and analytical methods. Results: The total number of patients enrolled was 11,676. Alcohol-related CLD was more frequently observed in northern/central areas (25.0% vs. 20.7%, p <.001), while HBV-related (15.4% vs. 13.3%, p =.02) and HCV-related (71.2% vs. 67.1%, p <.001) CLD prevailed in southern areas/main islands (Sicily and Sardinia). These differences were stable over time. Liver cirrhosis without HCC was diagnosed more frequently in southern area/islands than in northern/central areas (23.7% vs. 18.8%, p <.01). Moreover, an increased proportion over time of patients with cirrhosis without HCC was observed both in northern/central areas (17.3% vs. 27.4%, p <.01) and in southern area/islands (22.6% vs. 27.9%, p <.01). Conclusions: These up-dated findings show different geographical patterns of CLD in Italy, reflecting different behavioural habits and socio-economic conditions across the country. They may be useful to apply more adequate preventive measures and to allocate economic resources.
Introduction: To evaluate the characteristics of alcohol-related chronic liver disease (CLD) in Italy and their potential changes over time. Patients and methods: Subjects with CLD were enrolled in two national surveys performed in 2001 and in 2014 in Italy. The two surveys prospectively recruited patients aged ≥ 18 years referring to more than 80 Italian liver units scattered all over the country using similar clinical approach, analytical methods, and threshold of risky alcohol intake definition (≥ 3 units/day in men and ≥ 2 units/day in women). Results: Out of 12,256 enrolled subjects, 2,717 (22.2%) reported a risky alcohol intake. Of them, anti-HCV positive was observed in 48.3% of subjects. The overall sex ratio (M/F) was 3.1, decreasing from 3.8 in 2001 to 1.3 in 2014. Women were significantly older than men (58.9 versus 53.1 years; p < 0.01) and an increasing ageing over time was observed in both sexes. The proportion of subjects with liver cirrhosis increased over time in both sexes, and decompensated stage (Child B or C) was detected in 55.9% of cases in 2001 and 46.0% in 2014. Conclusions: Risky alcohol intake plays a role in more than one-fifth of CLD in Italy, with a shift over time towards an older age and a more severe liver disease stage. These data put alcohol back in the spotlight with an important role in CLD in the years to come in Italy.
Background: There is increasing awareness of HBV reactivation in HCV-RNA-positive/HBV-coinfected patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) treated with oral direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). Aim: To provide figures on the prevalence of HBV markers in HCV-RNA-positive subjects in Italy, where these findings are lacking. Methods: All subjects aged ≥18 years with CLD consecutively referring to Italian liver units located throughout country were prospectively enrolled in two national surveys in 2001 and 2014. Results: The total number of HCV-RNA-positive cases was 6984; 356 (5.1%) subjects vaccinated against HBV were excluded. A total of 6628 cases were evaluated. The prevalence rates of HBsAg, isolated anti-HBc and anti-HBc/anti-HBs-positivity were 2.9%, 8.1% and 14.7%, respectively. Among the estimated one million HCV-RNA-positive subjects in Italy, a substantial number of subjects are at risk of HBV reactivation due to DAA therapy. The prevalence of liver cirrhosis was higher than that of CLD in HBsAg-positive subjects (4.4% vs. 2.6%, p < 0.01) but not in those positive for other HBV markers. Conclusions: These findings outline the burden of HBV markers among HCV-RNA-positive subjects in Italy, where in 2017 reimbursement for DAA therapy by the National Health System became universal for all patients with chronic HCV infection. HBV vaccination coverage should be greatly extended, since nearly two thirds of subjects in this study resulted negative for any HBV marker.
Necrotizing soft tissue fasciitis (NSTIs) or necrotizing fasciitis is an infrequent and serious infection. Herein, we describe the clinical course of a female patient who received a diagnosis of NSTIs after gluteus intramuscular injection. We also report the results of our review of published papers from 1997 to 2017. Since now, 19 cases of NSTIs following intramuscular injections have been described. We focus on the correlation between intramuscular injection and NSTIs onset, especially in immunosuppressed patients treated with corticosteroids, suffering from chronic diseases or drug addicted. Intramuscular injections can provoke severe tissue trauma, representing local portal of infection, even if correctly administrated. Otherwise, it is important not to inject drug in subcutaneous, which is a less vascularized area and therefore more susceptible to infections. Likewise, a proper injecting technique and aspiration prior to injection seem to be valid measure to prevent intra-arterial or para-arterial drug injection with the consequent massive inflammatory reaction. Necrosis at the infection site appears to be independent of the drug, and it is a strong additional risk factor for NSTIs.
- Feb 2018
Background: In 2017, oral direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection became available free of charge for all HCV-RNA-positive patients, irrespective of their fibrosis stage. Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of HCV-related chronic liver disease (CLD) in Italy just before the introduction of DAA therapy. Patients and methods: Patients with CLD were enrolled in two national surveys conducted in 2001 and in 2014. The two surveys prospectively enrolled patients aged older than 18 years referring to Italian liver units throughout the country using a similar clinical approach and analytical methods. Results: Out of the 12 564 patients enrolled, 8447 (67.3%) were anti-HCV-positive, with a decreasing trend from 69.0% in 2001 to 60.4% in 2014. During this period, an increasing trend over time was observed in the mean age of patients (55.6 vs. 59.1 years; P<0.01), in the proportion of patients with liver cirrhosis (19.4 vs. 28.2%; P<0.01), and in the circulation of genotype 4 (0 vs. 6.1%). The multiple logistic analysis showed that age older than 60 years, birth in southern Italy, and multiple etiology (HCV+hepatitis B virus or HCV+alcohol) are independent predictors of a likelihood of liver cirrhosis, whereas a higher level of education plays a protective role (odds ratio: 0.65; 95% confidence interval=0.57-0.76). Conclusion: Currently, in Italy, chronic HCV infection plays a decreasing role in CLD, showing a shift toward older age groups and a more severe disease stage. These data, relating to just before the era of DAA therapy for this infection, represent up-to-date reference data for evaluating the effectiveness of DAAs in the future.
Background: The expression of CD70 on T cells is greatly enhanced by antigen-presenting cell (APC)-associated signals, such as tumour necrosis factor(TNF)-α, which is constitutionally high in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Experimentally, the chronic activation of CD27 as a result of the constitutive expression of CD70 leads to the demise of B cells in bone marrow (BM) and the secondary lymphoid organs. The aim of this study was to assess the number and phenotype of circulating B cell in untreated IBD patients and their counterparts treated with biological anti-TNF drugs. Methods: The study involved 13 untreated IBD patients, 36 IBD patients treated with biological drugs, and 10 healthy controls. The B cell phenotypes were assessed by means of flow cytometry using monoclonal antibodies specific for CD20, CD19, CD3, CD27 and CD43. In order to evaluate B cell development in bone marrow and peripheral B cell activation, we identified four B cell subsets: hematogones (HBs: CD20+19+3-27-43+), memory B cells (MBs: CD20+19+3-27+43-), pre-plasmablasts (PPBs: CD20+19+3-27+43+), and plasmablasts (PBs: CD20-19+3-27+43+). Results: The total number of B cells in the untreated patients was three times lower than that in the patients treated with biological drug (p<0.001), and half that in the healthy controls (p=0.03). The between-group differences (including the healthy donors) were statistically significant in the case of HBs and MBs, but not in the case of PPBs and PBs. Only one treated patient showed a transiently large increase in PPBs. There were statistically significant differences in all of the parameters between the untreated patients and those receiving biological therapy, and in some cases between the untreated patients and healthy controls, but never between the controls and the treated patients. Four non-responders to anti-TNF therapy had a smaller number of total circulating B cells than the untreated patients. Conclusions: Anti-TNF drugs disinhibit B cell production in IBD patients, but maintain the constant homeostasis of circulating B cells. The presence of individual variations may allow the activity of anti-TNF drugs to be monitored by studying B cell subgroups.
Background: Gender differences in chronic liver disease (CLD) have been partially investigated. To extend the present knowledge, we evaluated 12,263 patients with CLD enrolled in two national surveys (9997 in 2001 and 2557 in 2014). Methods: The two surveys prospectively recruited patients aged ≥ 18 referring to Italian liver units throughout the country using a similar clinical approach and analytical methods. Results: The overall male to female ratio (M/F) was 1.4 (7138/5124). Compared with females, males were significantly more likely to be younger (52.9 vs. 58.7 yrs.), with HBV infection alone (13.2% vs. 9.2%) and with alcoholic liver disease alone (11.4% vs. 6.9%), but less likely to show HCV infection alone (48.0% vs. 67.9%). A male preponderance was observed in HBV-related cases (1.99) and in alcoholic-related cases (2.3), a preponderance observed both in the 2001 and in 2014 cases. In HCV-related cases, however, females predominated in 2001 (M/F 0.9) and males in 2014 (M/F 1.5).The rate of cirrhosis in alcohol-related etiology was close to 36% in both genders, a finding much higher than that observed for both sexes in HBV and HCV etiologies.Both males and females enrolled in 2014 were older (p < 0.001) and with a higher rate of cirrhosis and/or HCC (p < 0.001) than those investigated in 2001. There was a remarkable increase over time in the proportion of male abstainers (36.7% in 2001 and 64.3% in 2014). Conclusion: This study highlights important inter- and intra-gender differences in the characteristics and etiological factors of patients with CLD in Italy.
Background The joint effect of the interaction of alcohol intake, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) on the risk of cirrhosis is still unexplored because a large sample size is required for this investigation. Objective Evaluation of interaction of HBV, HCV and alcohol abuse on the risk of cirrhosis. Design We analysed 12,262 consecutive patients with chronic liver disease of various aetiologies referring to 95 Italian liver units in 2001 or 2014. To evaluate the interaction between alcohol abuse, HBV infection, and HCV infection, patients unexposed to either factors were used as reference category. Adjustment for BMI and age was done by multiple logistic regression analysis. Results Females were older than males (p<0.01) and less frequently showed HBV and alcoholic aetiology (p<0.01). In both sexes, an overtime increasing age and an increasing proportion of subjects with liver cirrhosis was observed, reflecting a better survival (0.01). An additive interaction is observed in females: the O.R. generated by the simultaneous presence of HBV, HCV, and alcohol (5.09; 95% C.I. 1.06–24.56) exceeds the sum (4.14) of the O.R. generated by a single exposure (O.R. = 0.72 for HBsAg positivity, OR = 1.34 for anti-HCV positivity, and O.R. = 2.08 for alcohol intake). No interaction is observed in male sex. Conclusions The observed gender difference suggests that the simultaneous presence of HBV/HCV coinfection and risky alcohol intake enhances the mechanism of liver damage to a greater extent in females than in males.
Aim/objective/background: Direct-acting oral anticoagulant drugs are marketed worldwide for the primary and secondary prevention and treatment of thromboembolic disorders. Rivaroxaban, an oral, direct factor Xa inhibitor, is one of the most used. Rivaroxaban-induced hepatotoxicity is unusual, although a number of adverse reports have recently been reported. Here, we report two new cases of rivaroxaban-induced hepatitis. Methods: A systematic search of case reports on the MEDLINE database encompassing the years 2008-2016 was carried out.Additional references were obtained following a manual search of the retrieved papers. We report two new cases of adverse events occurred in patients treated with rivaroxaban (20 mg/die) to prevent systemic embolism, who presented with hepatocellular liver injury with onset at 8 weeks after initiation of the drug intake. Results: Twenty-six cases were retrieved from MEDLINE (57.7% female, 42.3% male). Using the Roussel Uclaf Causality Assessment Method (RUCAM) scale, liver injury was classified as hepatocellular (42.3%), cholestatic (26.9%), or mixed (15.4%). Older age (≥65 years) was present as a risk factor in 57.7%. The time lapse between initiation of treatment and onset of hepatic injury ranged from 2 to 180 days (median: 15 days). Our two new patients were diagnosed with drug-induced liver injury (hepatocellular pattern) using the 'consensus criteria', for drug-induced liver injury. Their RUCAM scores were calculated and assessed as highly probable and probable, respectively. A clinical recovery after rivaroxaban withdrawal was observed. Conclusion: Direct-acting oral anticoagulants have been commonly prescribed, even if safety issues regarding the use of these drugs are still an ongoing concern, especially in patients experiencing chronic liver disease. Dedicated postauthorization safety studies should be undertaken to better define rivaroxaban-induced drug-induced liver injury.
Background: There is a need for hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapies with excellent efficacy across genotypes and in diverse populations. Part A of the C-CREST-1 and C-CREST-2 trials led to the selection of a three-drug regimen of grazoprevir (MK-5172; an HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor; 100 mg/day) plus ruzasvir (MK-8408; an NS5A inhibitor; 60 mg/day) plus uprifosbuvir (MK-3682; an HCV NS5B polymerase inhibitor; 450 mg/day). Part B of the studies tested this combination as a single formulation in different treatment durations in a broader population. Methods: Part B of these randomised, phase 2, open-label clinical trials enrolled individuals from 15 countries who were chronically infected with HCV genotypes 1-6 (HCV RNA ≥10 000 IU/mL) with or without compensated cirrhosis. Those with genotype 1, genotype 2, genotype 4, or genotype 6 were treatment-naive; those with genotype 3 could be treatment-naive or treatment-experienced with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Randomisation occurred centrally using an interactive voice response system and integrated web response system. Participants were randomly assigned to receive treatment for 8, 12, or 16 weeks with a fixed-dose combination of grazoprevir, ruzasvir, and uprifosbuvir with or without ribavirin. The primary endpoint was the proportion of participants achieving sustained virological response 12 weeks after the end of all study therapy (SVR12), defined as HCV RNA less than the lower limit of quantification (either target detected unquantifiable or target not detected [<15 IU/mL]). The trials are registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, numbers NCT02332707 and NCT02332720. Findings: 676 participants were randomly assigned between Feb 18, 2015, and Aug 16, 2016. In all 675 participants who received at least one dose of study drug (full analysis set), SVR12 for the 8-week regimen of grazoprevir, ruzasvir, and uprifosbuvir with and without ribavirin was achieved in 39 (93% [95% CI 81-99]) of 42 participants with genotype 1a, 45 (98% [88-100]) of 46 with genotype 1b, 54 (86% [75-93]) of 63 with genotype 2, 98 (95% [89-98]) of 103 with genotype 3, and seven (100% [59-100]) of seven participants with genotype 4. SVR12 for the 12-week regimen with and without ribavirin was achieved in 87 (99% [95% CI 94-100]) of 88 participants with genotype 1, 61 (98% [91-100]) of 62 with genotype 2, and four (100% [40-100]) of four with genotype 6. Among participants with cirrhosis who were infected with genotype 3, SVR12 for the 12-week regimen with and without ribavirin was achieved in 28 (97% [95% CI 82-100]) of 29 of those who were treatment-naive and 29 (100% [88-100]) of 29 who were treatment-experienced. SVR12 for the 16-week regimen with and without ribavirin was achieved in 26 (100% [95% CI 87-100]) of 26 participants with genotype 2 infection and 72 (96% [89-99]) of 75 participants with genotype 3 infection. The most common adverse events were headache (143 [22%] of 664), fatigue (129 [19%] of 664), and nausea (83 [13%] of 664). 16 (2%) of 664 participants had serious adverse events. Interpretation: The combined regimen of grazoprevir (100 mg/day), ruzasvir (60 mg/day), and uprifosbuvir (450 mg/day) has the potential to provide a simplified treatment for HCV that is effective and well tolerated in most individuals infected with HCV, as well as a shorter duration of treatment in many individuals. Funding: Merck & Co, Inc.
Background and aim: The universal hepatitis B vaccination for infants and 12-year-old adolescents (the latter limited to the first 12 years of application) was launched in Italy in 1991. Twenty-three years later we evaluated the impact of the vaccination campaign on the burden of HBsAg-positive chronic liver diseases (CLD). Material and methods: A total of 513 HBsAg-positive chronic carriers referring to 16 Italian liver units were investigated and compared with HBsAg carriers enrolled in previous surveys. Results: The proportion of inactive carriers decreased from 20.0% in 2001 to 3.3% in 2014, while that of cirrhotic patients increased from 22.6% to 33.2%. Regarding the age class 0-33 (fully covered by HBV vaccination in 2014), the rate of inactive carriers decreased from the 21.7% in 2001 to 5.9% in 2014, that of chronic hepatitis from 17.5% to 5.2% and that of cirrhosis cases from 26.4% to 4.1%. Instead, in the over-60 age group the rate of inactive carriers increased from 22.8% to 41.2% and that of chronic hepatitis from 16.8% to 46%; the rate of patients with cirrhosis ranged from 5% to 8% in different studies. Conclusion: Twenty-three years after the introduction universal HBV vaccination in Italy, the clinical presentation of CLD had shown a shift toward older ages and more severe diseases.
- May 2017
Background: The last Italian prevalence survey on chronic hepatitis (CH) conducted in 2001 showed that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) was the main agent associated with CH. Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate epidemiological changes in CH occurring after 13 years. Patients and methods: Enrollment of 1392 CH consecutive patients referred to 16 Italian liver units in 2014 scattered all over the country (four in the North, four in the Center, four in the South, and four in the Islands) was performed. Results: The mean age of the patients was 58.3 years, with a sex ratio (male/female) of 1.5. HCV infection (also with other etiologies) continues to be the most prevalent etiology (58.1%). However, this prevalence was lower (P<0.01) than the corresponding figure (76.5%) for 2001. The proportion of hepatitis B virus-related cases almost doubled over time from 12.2% in 2001 to 22.5% in 2014 (P<0.01), most probably biased because of the distribution of entecavir and tenofovir free of charge at outpatient hospital clinics after 2001. Patients reporting risky alcohol intake (also with other etiologies) accounted for 12.4% of cases, a figure lower than that reported in 2001: 19.2% (P<0.01). The proportion of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease cases nearly doubled over time (3.6% in 2001 and 6.2% in 2014; P<0.05), reflecting the greater attention over time devoted to this syndrome. Conclusion: The decreasing role of HCV infection as an etiologic factor of CH in Italy is good news considering the high cost of the directly acting antiviral agents for HCV eradication. Metabolic factors warrant greater attention in the near future.
Objective: Epidemiological studies report that in Sicily reside about 30,000 citizens with a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis due to HCV. The availability of direct antiviral action (DAA) is a real therapeutic breakthrough, but the high cost of the therapeutic regimes limits their use and forced the National Health System to establish clinical priority for the treatment. Materials and methods: The HCV Sicily Network is a web-based model of best medical practice, which was designed to improve the management and the treatment of HCV chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. The network includes 41 centers and 84 gastroenterologists or infectivologists connected by a web platform that recorder the diagnosis and the clinic priority for the therapy. Results: From March 2015 to September 2016, 9,965 patients (57% male, mean age 61 years, 34% with age over 70 years) have been recorded in the web platform, 3,319 patients completed the treatment, and 1,754 completed the 12 weeks of follow-up. The Sustained Virological Response (SVR) was achieved in 1,541 patients (87.8%), while 136 patients (7.7%) 77 patients (4.5%) experienced a virological relapse during the 12 weeks of follow-up. Conclusions: The HCV Sicily Network is an excellent system for the Regional Department of Health that can have a real estimation of patients that received an efficacy, but high-cost therapy.
Background The endemicity of hepatitis delta virus infection in Italy has decreased in the last decades. AimTo evaluate the current epidemiology of chronic delta infection in Italy and to compare the present findings with the corresponding figures from the previous studies. MethodsA cross-sectional study involving 16 referral centres scattered all over the country in 2014. ResultsOut of the 513 hepatitis B surface antigen-positive subjects enrolled, 61 (11.9%) were anti-delta positive, with a sex ratio (M/F) of 2.05. The majority (80.3%) of them was 50 years or older, while the proportion of subjects younger than 30 years of age was as low as 3.3%. No difference was detected by geographical area of residence. The presence of liver cirrhosis was diagnosed in 52.4% of cases. In comparison to previous studies, a further shift towards the oldest age groups and an increasing proportion of subjects having liver cirrhosis among all anti-delta-positive subjects are observed. Conclusions Currently, hepatitis delta infection mostly affects old people who have an advanced but indolent liver disease, reflecting a survival effect. The defective hepatitis delta virus is near to disappear in the country, where it has been discovered in the second half of 70s.
- Nov 2016
Background: Previous cross-sectional studies have shown that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection had been the main agent associated with liver cirrhosis in Italy. Aim: To assess epidemiological, laboratory and clinical features of liver cirrhosis in Italy in 2014. Patients: Out of the 2557 consecutive subjects evaluated in 16 hospitals located throughout Italy in 2014, 832 (32.6%) had liver cirrhosis and were enrolled in this study. Results: The mean age of subjects was 60.3years, with a male/female ratio of 1.7; 74.9% of cases had Child A cirrhosis and 17.9% superimposed hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV infection, alone or in combination with other aetiologic agents, was responsible of 58.6% of cases, HBV aetiology accounted for the 17.6% and alcohol abuse for the 16.0%. Compared with virus-related cirrhotic patients, those alcohol-related more frequently showed decompensation (p=0.02). Conclusions: Compared to previous surveys performed in 1992 and in 2001, we observe a statistically significant (p<0.05) decreasing role of both HCV infection and alcohol abuse as aetiologic agents of liver cirrhosis in Italy, explaining, at least in part, the slow, progressive decline of the mortality rate for liver cirrhosis in the last decades in this country (from 34.5 deaths/100,000 inhabitants in1980 to 10.8 in 2012).
Background: Natural history of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is partially characterized in patients from the Mediterranean area whose genetic background differs from that of Northern Europeans. Objectives: We aimed to describe genetic susceptibility and clinical course of PBC in patients from Southern Italy. Methods: Socio-demographic, clinical, biochemical and histological data at diagnosis as well as disease progression of 81 PBC consecutive patients were collected. All subjects were treated with Ursodeoxycholic acid at a dose of 15 mg/kg. HLA class II DRB1 alleles were compared with those of 237 healthy control subjects. IL28B genotyping for IL28B rs12979860 C/T and rs80899917 G/T was performed in a sub-group of patients. Results: HLA-DRB1*07 (RR 5.3, P = 0.0008) and HLA-DRB1*08 (RR n.c. P = 0.0005) were significantly associated with the risk of PBC development. Patients younger than 45 years had significantly higher alanine aminotransferase (P = 0.038) and alkaline phosphatase levels (P = 0.047) than older cases. In comparison to non-CC rs12979860, patients with CC rs12979860 genotype showed an early histological stage at onset (93.8% vs. 62.5%, P = 0.03). After a mean follow-up of 61 months, three patients died, one underwent liver transplantation and sixteen (21.9%) had progression of the disease. At multivariate analysis, extrahepatic autoimmune disease (P = 0.04), pruritus (P = 0.008) and advanced histological stage (P < 0.0001) were independent risk factors for disease progression. Conclusions: HLA-DRB1*07 and HLA-DRB1*08 alleles increase susceptibility to disease development. At onset, higher biochemical activity was observed in younger patients, whereas rs12979860 CC genotype was associated with milder histological stage. Pruritus and coexistence of extrahepatic autoimmune diseases were significantly associated with poorer prognosis.
Background & aims: The risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is reduced but not eradicated among patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced advanced hepatic fibrosis who attained sustained viral response (SVR). We aimed to assess the risk of cirrhosis-related complications in this specific group of patients. Methods: Data from previously reported Western cohort studies including patients with chronic HCV infection and bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis who attained SVR were pooled for survival analyses on the individual patient level. The primary endpoint was HCC and the secondary endpoint was clinical disease progression, defined as liver failure, HCC or death. Results: Included were 1000 patients with SVR. Median age was 52.7 (IQR 45.1-59.7) years, 676 (68%) were male and 842 (85%) had cirrhosis. Median follow-up was 5.7 (IQR 2.9-8.0) years. Fifty-one patients developed HCC and 101 had clinical disease progression. The cumulative 8-year HCC incidence was 1.8 (95% CI 0.0-4.3) among patients with bridging fibrosis and 8.7% (95% CI 6.0-11.4) among those with cirrhosis (p=0.058). Within the cirrhosis group, the 8-year HCC incidence was 2.6% (95% CI 0.0-5.5) among patients <45years, 9.7% (95% CI 5.8-13.6) among patients from 45-60years, and 12.2% (95% CI 5.3-19.1) among patients >60years of age at start of therapy (p=0.006). Multivariable Cox analyses indicated that higher age, lower platelet count and diabetes mellitus were independently associated with development of HCC. After 8years 4.2% (95% CI 0.1-8.3) of patients with bridging fibrosis and 15.8% (95% CI 12.3-19.3) of patients with cirrhosis experienced clinical disease progression (p=0.007). Conclusions: Patients with HCV-induced cirrhosis and SVR showed an annual risk of approximately 1% for HCC and 2% for clinical disease progression. Therefore, to prevent HCC surveillance, chronic HCV infection should preferably be treated before cirrhosis has developed. Lay summary: Patients with cirrhosis who were able to eradicate their chronic HCV infection remain at substantial risk of primary liver cancer. The risk of liver cancer increases with higher age, laboratory makers suggesting more severe liver disease, and presence of diabetes mellitus. Also after successful antiviral therapy patients with HCV-induced cirrhosis should thus remain included in follow-up for early detection of liver cancer.
Background: The last Italian prevalence survey on chronic liver diseases (CLD) was performed in 2001. The present study evaluated the changes occurring over thirteen years. Methods: We enrolled 2,557 CLD consecutive patients in 16 Italian liver units in 2014. Results: HBV etiology accounted for 513 (20.2%) cases, alone in 439 and associated with HCV and/or alcohol abuse in 74. Of these 513, 11.9% were anti-HDV-positive and 7.2% HBeAg-positive. HCV alone was responsible for 50.3% of CLD and with alcohol abuse for 5.9%. HCV RNA was detected in 64.0% of the anti-HCV-positive patients tested. HCV genotyping, performed for 899 patients, showed genotype-1a, 1b, 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively in 16.5%, 45.5%, 15.4%, 8.2%, 15.1% and 0.2%. Alcohol abuse alone was responsible for 6.4% of cases and NAFLD/NASH for 6.3%. Liver cirrhosis (p<0.001) and HCC (p<0.001) were more frequent in alcoholic than viral etiologies. HCV and alcohol etiologies were more frequent in 2001 than 2014 (from 69.9% to 59.9% and from 23.0% to 12.3%, respectively). HBV showed a similar impact. In all etiologies, the 2001 CLD cases were 10 years younger and with a significantly lower rate of cirrhosis than the 2014 cases. Conclusion: The changes in HCV, HBV and alcohol etiologies may help apply more appropriate healthcare strategies.
IL-9, which may be an inflammatory or regulatory cytokine, can be experimentally produced in a Th17 or modified Th2 context in the presence of T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation. The primary aim of this study was to measure serum IL-9 levels in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and evaluate their relationships with the patients' clinical characteristics. The secondary aim was to determine the levels of interferon-γ (IFN (interferon)-γ), Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13), and IL-6 in order to clarify the context of detectable peripheral cytokines in which IL-9 is produced.Venous blood samples of 43 IBD patients (20 with Crohn's disease [CD] and 23 with ulcerative colitis [UC]) were analysed by means of quantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays using purified anti-human IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, IFN-γ, IL-9 and IL-6 antibodies, and the laboratory findings were statistically correlated with their clinical expression.None of the patients showed the peripheral presence of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13. Forty (93%) were positive for IFN-γ, thus confirming the presence of Th1 in both UC and CD, and IFN-γ levels correlated with disease activity (P = 0.045). Eighteen patients (41%) were positive for IL-9, which was associated with a severe prognosis (P <0.001), and 72.2% of the IL-9-positive patients were also IL-6 positive. There was a significant correlation between disease severity and IL-9 in the CD patients (P <0.001), but not in the UC patients (P = 0.1).Our findings confirm the presence of common Th1 cytokines in UC and CD. However the IL-9 positivity indicates the presence of an alternative population of T cells that respond to antigen stimulation and condition the prognosis of IBD. The fact that the same serum IL-9 levels were differentially associated with clinical measures of CD and UC activity suggest that the same cytokine can be produced in different contexts.
- Jun 2015
A 24-48-week course of interferon-based therapy poorly tolerated in hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis patients with thrombocytopenia. Aim of the study was to identify patients at low-risk of liver-related complications over a 12-week course of interferon-based therapy. We assessed the rate of complications and death during the first 12 weeks of interferon-based therapy in HCV cirrhotics with thrombocytopenia (platelets ≤75×10(9)/L) enrolled in the ENABLE-1 and -2 phase 3 randomised controlled trials. Overall, among 1441 patients, 89 complications (6.9%) and 10 deaths (0.7%) were observed within the first 12 weeks of therapy. At univariate analysis baseline albumin levels and Model for End Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score (≤35g/L, p<0.001, and ≥10, p<0.001, respectively) were the only predictors associated with occurrence of complications and death. Of the 1026 patients with serum albumin >35g/L (71.2%), one patient died (0.1%) and 17 experienced liver-related complications (1.7%). Among 667 patients with serum albumin >35g/L and MELD score <10, no deaths occurred and 4 experienced liver-related complications (0.6%). Among HCV cirrhotic patients with thrombocytopenia, albumin levels and MELD score can identify patients who may safely receive a 12-week course of interferon-based therapy with a low risk of complications. Copyright © 2015 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Renal dysfunction (RD) and venous congestion are related and common in heart failure (HF). Studies suggest that venous congestion may be the primary driver of RD in HF. In this study, we sought to investigate retrospectively the relationship between common measures of renal function with caval congestion and mortality among outpatients with HF and RD. We reviewed data from 103 HF outpatients (45 males, mean age 74 years, ejection fraction 41.8 ± 11.6 %) with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of <60 ml/min in a single centre. During an ambulatory visit, all patients underwent blood test and ultrasonography of the inferior vena cava (IVC). Caval congestion was defined as IVC with both dilatation and impaired collapsibility. The best values of renal metrics in predicting caval congestion were determined with receiver-operating characteristic analysis. The BUN/Cr ratio is moderately correlated with IVC expiratory maximum diameter (r = 0.31, p < 0.0007). In a multiple logistic regression model, BUN/Cr >25.5 (adjusted OR 2.98, p 0.015) and eGFR ≤45.8 (adjusted OR 5.38, p 0.002) identify patients at risk for caval congestion; a BUN/Cr >23.7 was the best predictor of impaired collapsibility (adjusted OR 4.41, p 0.001). a BUN/Cr >25.5 (HR 2.19, 95 % CI 1.21-3.94, p < 0.001) and NYHA class 3 (HR 2.91, 95 % CI 1.60-5.31, p < 0.0005) were independent risk factors associated with all-cause death during a median follow-up of 31 months. In outpatients with HF and RD, a higher BUN/Cr and lower eGFR are reliable renal biomarkers for caval congestion. The BUN/Cr is associated with long-term mortality and may help to stratify HF severity.
- May 2015
It has been shown that sexual hormones have an opposite effect on hepatic fibrosis progression and hepatocellular carcinoma development. Sex differences among 2,762 chronic HBsAg carriers consecutively referring Italian hospitals in 2001 and in 2007 have been evaluated, particularly focusing on the role of gender on severity of liver disease. The overall sex ratio (males/females) was 2.6. Females were more likely born abroad and new diagnosis cases; but less likely HIV coinfected. No sex difference was observed regarding coinfection with other hepatitis viruses. The sex ratio linearly increased with increasing severity of liver disease, being 1.3 in normal ALT, 2.8 in chronic hepatitis, 3.6 in liver cirrhosis, and 6.8 in hepatocellular carcinoma. Adjustment by multiple logistic regression analysis for the confounding effect of age, alcohol intake, HDV infection, HCV infection, and BMI shows that male gender is an independent predictor of the likelihood of more severe liver disease (O.R. 1.7; C.I. 95% = 1.3-2.1). HBV-DNA levels resulted not associated with the outcome of chronic HBV infection. Despite some potential risk factors associated with liver disease, such as HBV genotype or mutations, not having been controlled for due to lack of availability, the observed sex disparity in the outcome of chronic HBV infection may support biological obervation that HBV infection could be considered a sex hormone-responsive virus. J. Med. Virol. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Nutcracker esophagus and non-specific motility disorders are the main causes of non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP), with gastroesophageal reflux in 60% of cases. Achalasia and diffuse esophageal spasm are the most frequent anomalies described in patients with dysphagia. The goal of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of esophageal body and lower esophageal sphincter motor abnormalities in patients with dysphagia, NCCP, or both. This study is a retrospective analysis of 716 patients with NCCP and/or dysphagia tested between January 1994 and December 2010. 1023 functional studies were performed, 707 of which were esophageal manometries, 225 esophageal pH-meters, and 44 bilimetries. We divided the patients into three groups: group 1 was composed of patients affected with dysphagia, group 2 with NCCP and group 3 with NCCP and dysphagia. Manometric anomalies were detected in 84.4% of cases (p<0.001). The most frequent esophageal motility alteration was achalasia (36%). The lower esophageal sphincter was normal in 45.9% of patients (p<0.001). In all 3 groups, 80.9%, 98.8%, and 93.8, respectively, of patients showed normal upper esophageal sphincter (p=0.005). Our data differs from those of other studies because they were collected from and analyzed by a single tertiary level referral center by a single examiner. This could have eliminated the variability found in different hands and different experiences. The high percentage of symptomatic patients with non-pathologic esophageal motility pattern suggests an unclear origin of the disease, with possible neuromuscular involvement. As a result, these patients may need more-detailed diagnostic studies.
Pregnancy is a para-physiologic condition, which usually evolves without any complications in the majority of women, even if in some circumstances moderate or severe clinical problems can also occur. Among complications occurring during the second and the third trimester very important are those considered as concurrent to pregnancy such as hyperemesis gravidarum, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, HELLP syndrome and acute fatty liver of pregnancy. The liver diseases concurrent to pregnancy typically occur at specific times during the gestation and they may lead to significant maternal and foetal morbidity and mortality. Commonly, delivery of the foetus, even preterm, usually terminates the progression of these disorders. All chronic liver diseases, such as chronic viral hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, Wilson's disease, and cirrhosis of different aetiologies may cause liver damage, independently from pregnancy. In this review we will also comment the clinical implications of pregnancies occurring in women who received a orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) Therefore, the management of immunosuppressive therapy before and after the delivery in women who received liver transplant is becoming a relevant clinical issue. Finally, we will focus on acute and chronic viral hepatitis occurring during pregnancy, on management of advanced liver disease and we will review the literature on the challenging issue regarding pregnancy and OLT.
- Sep 2014
Background: Drugs and herbal products can induce autoimmune hepatitis. We assessed frequency and clinical outcomes of patients suffering from drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis. Methods: All patients with drug-induced liver injury admitted between 2000 and 2011 were retrospectively studied. Diagnoses of drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis and idiopathic autoimmune hepatitis were made according to simplified criteria. After discharge, all patients had regular follow-up and were contacted to update outcomes. Results: Among 10,270 in-hospital patients, 136 (1.3%) were diagnosed with drug-induced liver injury. Among them, 12 (8.8%) were diagnosed as drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis (41.7% males, age range 17-73); 8 (66.7%) were with jaundice at admission. Liver biopsies showed a pattern compatible with drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis, featured by severe portal inflammation and lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate. Drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis group had a shorter duration of drug intake, and higher values of transaminases and gamma globulins. All patients received immunosuppressive therapy with subsequent clinical remission, and five achieved a steroid-free long-term remission. Conclusions: A diagnosis of drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis was quite rare in our cohort, and clinical pattern was similar to idiopathic autoimmune hepatitis. Severe portal inflammation, prominent portal-plasma cells, rosette formation and severe focal necrosis were significantly more frequent in drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis as compared to drug-induced liver injury.
Background: Data on the efficacy of Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C are mostly derived from treatment of selected patients enrolled in clinical trials. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy in "real world" chronic hepatitis C patients in Italy. Methods: Independent observational multicentre study including consecutive patients receiving Peg-interferon/ribavirin in the 18 months before (retrospective phase) and after (prospective phase) the start of the study. Results: 4176 patients were eligible. The final study population consisted of 2051 patients in the retrospective and 2073 in the prospective phase. Sustained virological response was achieved by 1036 patients (50.5%) during the retrospective phase: 325 were genotypes 1/4 (34.1%) and 684 were genotypes 2/3 (67.2%) and by 800 patients (38.6%) during the prospective phase: 300 were genotypes 1/4 (28.4%) and 473 were genotypes 2/3 (51.5%). During multivariate analysis genotypes 2/3 were significantly associated with higher sustained virological response rates; cirrhosis and γ-glutamil-transpeptidase >2 times the normal limit were associated with poorer response. Conclusions: The response to Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy in "real world" clinical practice is distinctly lower than in registration trials. The difference in response rates was more pronounced among easy-to-treat than among difficult-to-treat hepatitis C virus genotypes.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are frequently associated with altered liver function tests (LFTs). The causal relationship between abnormal LFTs and IBD is unclear. The aim of our study was to evaluate the prevalence and etiology of LFTs abnormalities and their association with clinical variables in a cohort of IBD patients followed up in a single center. MATERIALS AND METHODS A retrospective review was undertaken of all consecutive IBD in- and outpatients routinely followed up at a single referral center. Clinical and demographic parameters were recorded. Subjects were excluded if they had a previous diagnosis of chronic liver disease. LFT abnormality was defined as an increase in aspartate aminotransferase, (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), or total bilirubin. RESULTS A cohort of 335 patients (179 males, mean age 46.0 ± 15.6 years) was analyzed. Abnormal LFTs were detected in 70 patients (20.9%). In most cases, the alterations were mild and spontaneously returned to normal values in about 60% of patients. Patients with abnormal LFTs were less frequently on treatment with aminosalicylates (22.8 vs. 36.6%, P = 0.04). The most frequent cause for transient abnormal LFTs was drug-induced cholestasis (34.1%), whereas fatty liver was the most frequent cause of persistent liver damage (65.4%). A cholestatic pattern was found in 60.0% of patients and was mainly related to older age, longer duration of disease, and hypertension. CONCLUSIONS The prevalence of LFT abnormalities is relatively high in IBD patients, but the development of severe liver injury is exceptional. Moreover, most alterations of LFTs are mild and spontaneously return to normal values. Drug-induced hepatotoxicity and fatty liver are the most relevant causes of abnormal LFTs in patients with IBD.
Data on the efficacy of Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy for chronic hepatitis C are mostly derived from treatment of selected patients enrolled in clinical trials. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of Peg-interferon/ribavirin therapy in "real world" chronic hepatitis C patients in Italy.
AIM: To investigate clinical and biochemical features of hepatorenal syndrome (HRS), to assess short and long- term survival evaluating potential predictors of early mortality. METHODS: Sixty-two patients with liver cirrhosis and renal failure, defined as a serum creatinine value > 1.5 mg/dL on at least two measurements within 48 h, admitted to our tertiary referral Unit from 2001 to 201, were retrospectively reviewed. Among them, 33 patients (53.2%) fulfilled the revised criteria of the International Ascites Club for the diagnosis of HRS. Twenty-eight patients were treated with combinations of terlipressin and albumin, two with dopamine and al- bumin, and three with albumin alone. No patients were suitable for liver transplantation. Complete response was defined as normalization of creatinine levels to less than 1.5 mg/dL, partial response as a decrease of at least 50% but not to less than 1.5 mg/dL, no response as no reduction in creatinine or a decrease of less 50% compared to pre-treatment values. All of the patients were followed up for at least 1 year until January 2013. RESULTS: HRS type 1 was diagnosed in 15 patients (45.5%). Hepatitis C virus infection was the primary etiology (69.6%), followed by alcohol (15.2%), and cryptogenesis (15.2%). Complete response to therapy was obtained in only 3 cases (9.1%) and partial re- sponse in 7 patients (21.2%). Median survival was 30 d (range: 10-274) without significant differences be- tween type 1 and type 2 HRS. By univariate analysis, Child-Pugh class C (P = 0.009), presence of hepatocel- lular carcinoma (P = 0.04), low serum sodium (P = 0.02), high bilirubin values (P = 0.009) and high Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) score (P = 0.03) were predictive factors of 30-d mortality. By multivari- ate analysis, only serum sodium < 132 mEq/L (OR = 31.39; P = 0.02) and MELD score > 27 (OR = 18.72; P = 0.01) were independently associated with a survival of less than one month. CONCLUSION: HRS still has a poor prognosis, even when vasoactive drug therapies are extensively used.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccines may be able to increase viral clearance in combination with antiviral therapy. We analysed viral dynamics and HCV-specific immune response during retreatment for experienced patients in a phase Ib study with E1E2MF59 vaccine. Seventy-eight genotype 1a/1b patients [relapsers (30), partial responders (16) and nonresponders (32) to interferon-(IFN)/ribavirin-(RBV)] were randomly assigned to vaccine (V:23), Peg-IFNα2a-180-ug/qw and ribavirin 1000-1200-mg/qd for 48 weeks (P/R:25), or their combination (P/R + V:30). Vaccine (100 μg/0.5 mL) was administered intramuscularly at week 0-4-8-12-24-28-32-36. Neutralizing of binding (NOB) antibodies and lymphocyte proliferation assay (LPA) for E1E2-specific-CD4 + T cells were performed at week 0-12-16-48. Viral kinetics were analysed up to week 16. The vaccine was safe, and a sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved in 4 P/R + V and 2 P/R patients. Higher SVR rates were observed in prior relapsers (P/R + V = 27.3%; P/R = 12.5%). Higher NOB titres and LPA indexes were found at week 12 and 16 in P/R + V as compared to P/R patients (P = 0.023 and 0.025, P = 0.019 and <0.001, respectively). Among the 22 patients with the strongest direct antiviral effects of IFN (ε ≥ 0.800), those treated with P/R + V (10) reached lower HCV-RNA levels (P = 0.026) at week 16. HCV E1E2MF59 vaccine in combination with Peg-IFNα2a + RBV was safe and elicited E1E2 neutralizing antibodies and specific CD4 + T cell proliferation. Upon early response to IFN, vaccinations were associated with an enhanced second phase viral load decline. These results prompt phase II trials in combination with new antiviral therapies.
Objectives: The occurrence of decompensation marks a crucial turning point in the course of cirrhosis. The purpose of this study was to assess the risk of mortality according to the clinical characteristics of first decompensation, considering also the impact of acute-on-chronic liver failure (AoCLF). Methods: We conducted a prospective nationwide inception cohort study in Italy. Decompensation was defined by the presence of ascites, either overt or detected by ultrasonography (UD), gastroesophageal variceal bleeding (GEVB), and hepatic encephalopathy (HE). AoCLF was defined according to the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver criteria. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression was used to analyze the risk of failure (death or orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT)). Results: A total of 490 consecutive cirrhotic patients (314 males, mean age 60.9±12.6 years) fulfilled the study criteria. AoCLF was identified in 59 patients (12.0%). Among the remaining 431 patients, ascites were found in 330 patients (76.6%): in 257 (77.8%) as overt ascites and in 73 (22.2%) as UD ascites. GEVB was observed in 77 patients (17.9%) and HE in 30 patients (7.0%). After a median follow-up of 33 months, 24 patients underwent OLT and 125 died. The cumulative incidence of failure (death or OLT) after 1, 2, and 3 years was, respectively, 28, 53, and 62% in patients with AoCLF; 10, 18, and 25% in patients with UD ascites; 17, 31, and 41% in patients with overt ascites; and 8, 12, and 24% in patients with GEVB (P<0.0001). Conclusions: AoCLF is responsible for a relevant proportion of first decompensation in cirrhotic patients and is associated with the poorest outcome. Patients with UD ascites do not have a negligible mortality rate and require clinical monitoring similar to that of patients with overt ascites.
Reversibility of advanced fibrosis after HCV-clearance is an important goal of therapy. Measuring liver stiffness (LS) by transient elastography (TE) might be helpful in this setting. We evaluated 104 patients with biopsy-proven chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and sustained virological response (SVR) after Peg-Interferon (IFN) plus ribavirin since at least 18 months. HCV-eradication was confirmed searching for serum HCV-RNA (TMA® sensitivity > 5-10 IU/ml). Data from literature reported the best LS cut-off values for different stages of liver fibrosis were 7.1 kPa for Metavir stage 2 (F2), 9.5 kPa for F3 and 12.5 for cirrhosis (F4). TE was not reliable in four SVR obese patients. Metavir-stage of biopsy was F0-1 in 28, F2 in 47, F3 in 17 and F4 in eight patients. The median interval elapsed since achieving SVR was 36 months (range: 18-77, SD¬¬:18). Stratifying patients according to the histological stage assessed before treatment, a clear-cut gradient of LS values was observed from F0-1: median: 3.8 kPa (range: 3.5-4.9) to F2: 4.6 kPa (3.8-6.0), F3: 6.2 kPa (4.8-8.6) and F4: 8.4 kPa (6.2-9.2) (P = 0.001). Overall, 86 patients had lower values of LS than the expected LS values according to Metavir-stage. At multivariate logistic analysis γ-GT and histological steatosis were independently associated with persistence of higher values of LS. Long term responders to IFN-based therapies have lower LS values than those who are untreated and still viraemic. High levels of γ-GT and liver steatosis, all markers of insulin resistance, may hamper reduction of liver stiffness after HCV-clearance.
- Apr 2013
Background and Aim: Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is increasingly being recognized as a cause of clinically significant liver disease. We aimed to evaluate the rate of hospital-admitted severe cases of DILI, and to identify the drugs most commonly responsible of severe clinical course. Methods: Diagnosis of DILI was made when at least three of International Consensus Criteria were present. Between 1996 and 2011, all consecutive patients diagnosed as DILI were analyzed. Data were collected from in- and outpatient visit charts. Liver damage was defined as hepatocellular, cholestatic or mixed, according to clinical and laboratory data. Liver stiffness measurement was carried out by Fibroscan®. All patients had regular follow-up visits every three months for at least one year, and were contacted to update their clinical outcomes. Results: Out of 10,270 patients, 157 (73 males, 46.5%), mean age 54.2 years (range 11–88) fulfilled diagnosis of DILI; 29 patients (18.5%) had pre-existing compensated chronic liver disease (CLD). Hepatocellular pattern was more commonly observed (53.2%) followed by cholestatic (26.7%) and mixed pattern (20.1%). The most frequent drugs were non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, 33.3%), followed by antibiotics (19.7%), anti-diabetic drugs (13.4%), anti-platelet agents (9.6%) statins (9.3%) immunosuppressant (6.7%), psychotropic drugs and herbal products. In 38 cases, two or more drugs were involved. Among NSAIDs, nimesulide was the most frequently involved (43%). NSAIDs were more frequently associated with hepatocellular pattern and signs of hepatic encephalopathy. Patients with DILI from NSAIDs were younger (48.1 vs. 55.1 years, p = 0.02) and the duration of drug intake was shorter (p < 0.001) as well as the average latency (p = 0.02). ALT values (p = 0.02) and eosinophil count (p = 0.02) were significantly higher in NSAIDs-induced liver damage compared to other drugs (p = 0.007). NSAIDs were involved in six cases of acute liver failure and one died while on waiting list for OLT. The overall clinical pattern of DILI in CLD was similar to other non CLD cases and none had hepatic decompensation. Conclusions: NSAIDs was the most common drug class as cause of DILI among patients younger than 50 years. Acute liver disease induced by NSAIDs represents an important cause of hospitalization.
Objective Swallowing and voice impairment are common after thyroidectomy. We evaluated short-term functional changes in esophageal motility in a series of patients who had undergone total thyroidectomy. Several studies have investigated these symptoms by means of interviews or questionnaires.Study DesignProspective study.SettingAcademic research.Materials and Methods Thirty-six consenting patients were prospectively recruited. Eligibility criteria were thyroid volume ≤60 mL, benign disease, and age between 18 and 65 years. Exclusion criteria were previous neck surgery, severe thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism, and pre- or postoperative vocal cord palsy. Voice impairment score, swallowing impairment score, lower esophageal sphincter pressure, esophageal motility, upper esophageal pressure, and coordination were evaluated preoperatively and 30 to 45 days after surgery.ResultsPostoperative swallowing impairment (appearance or worsening of dysphagia) was found in 20% of patients and voice impairment in more than 30%. Both preoperative and postoperative esophageal motility were similar. All patients showed an average decrease of 25% in upper esophageal pressure, although the pressure was within normal range. Swallowing alterations were associated with upper esophageal incoordination (P < .03), and proximal acid reflux was significantly associated with voice impairment (P < .02).Conclusion After uncomplicated thyroidectomy, decreased upper esophageal pressure may explain both pharyngeal (dysphagia) and laryngeal (vocal impairment) exposure to acid. In the future, proton pump inhibitor therapy protocols should be evaluated.
The role of innate immune response mediated by Toll-like receptors in HCV infection, is not yet well understood and there is a lack of data regarding liver tissue expression of these molecules in chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Our study is aimed to investigate ex vivo, liver expression of TLR2, TLR3 and TLR7, which are more involved in the immune-pathogenesis of CHC, and to explore possible correlations with features of disease. We obtained liver biopsies and collected peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 23 consecutive patients with CHC and from 6 patients of control, without liver disease, undergoing surgery for cholecystectomy. The levels of TLRs mRNA in the samples were determined using a real-time reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). We found a significant high expression of TLR3 in the liver of CHC patients respect to controls (also higher than expression in the PBMC). Conversely no differences emerged in the TLR2 and TLR7 levels between cases and controls. Also we found a correlation of TLR2 and TLR7 levels with the grade of necro-inflammation in the liver. Furthermore TLR7 hepatic levels resulted related to a more advanced stage of liver fibrosis. Ours is the first study to provide data on tissue expression of TLRs during chronic hepatitis C and we believe that it could lead to a better understanding of the role of these molecules in the HCV-mediated liver damage.
Background We have recently investigated the localisation of immunoglobulin-producing cells (IPCs) in inflamed intestinal tissue samples from patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and identified two main patterns of B lymphocyte infiltration: one characterised by the moderate strong stromal localisation of small B1 cell-like IgM+/CD79+/CD20-/CD21-/CD23-/CD5 ± IPCs, and the other by the peri-glandular localisation of IPCs with irregular nuclei that had surface markers specific for a B cell subset (IgM and CD79), but quantitative differences in their λ and κ chains. The same patients were also tested for CD15+ receptors, which were localised on inflammatory cell surfaces or in the crypts of the intestinal epithelium. CD15+ receptor distribution in inflamed tissues was limited to the cell structures. The aim of the study was to analyse variations in IPCs and CD15+ cell morphology or distribution in bowel biopsy specimens taken from patients with pre-malignant polyps or adenocarcinomas. Methods IPCs were analysed by means of immunofluorescence using polyclonal goat anti-human μ chains. The pre-malignant polyp specimens were tested for B cell surface phenotype λ and κ chains, CD79, CD20, CD21 and CD23 using an immunoperoxidase method. CD15+ cells were evaluated using the immunoperoxidase method and monoclonal anti-CD15 IgM. Results The study involved 14 patients (four with pre-malignant polyps and 10 with colorectal adenocarcinomas). The distribution of μ chains and CD15 markers varied in all of the biopsies, but delineated normal cell structures in the pre-malignant polyp specimens. B cell surface phenotype analysis of μ chain-positive cells identified a subset of CD79+/CD20-/CD21-/CD23- IPCs. The IPCs in certain areas showed the sporadic disintegration of inflammatory cell membranes or the accumulation of fluorescence in individual cells. IPC membrane disintegration was particularly marked in all of the adenocarcinoma samples, in which the CD15 markers also showed epithelial cell involvement. Furthermore, six of the ten adenocarcinoma samples had atypical and reorganised membranes that expressed an excess of both receptors and isolated small portions of tissue within the tumour. Conclusion The findings of this preliminary morphological study suggest the presence of membrane disintegration and remodelling mechanisms in the tumours. The newly-formed membranes expressed high concentrations of inflammatory cell receptors that can confer adhesive properties.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified several loci associated with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) risk. Pathway analysis complements conventional GWAS analysis. We applied the recently developed linear combination test for pathways to datasets drawn from independent PBC GWAS in Italian and Canadian subjects. Of the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes and BioCarta pathways tested, 25 pathways in the Italian dataset (449 cases, 940 controls) and 26 pathways in the Canadian dataset (530 cases, 398 controls) were associated with PBC susceptibility (P<0.05). After correcting for multiple comparisons, only the eight most significant pathways in the Italian dataset had FDR <0.25 with tumor necrosis factor/stress-related signaling emerging as the top pathway (P=7.38 × 10(-4), FDR=0.18). Two pathways, phosphatidylinositol signaling and hedgehog signaling, were replicated in both datasets (P<0.05), and subjected to two additional complementary pathway tests. Both pathway signals remained significant in the Italian dataset on modified gene set enrichment analysis (P<0.05). In both GWAS, variants nominally associated with PBC were significantly overrepresented in the phosphatidylinositol pathway (Fisher exact P<0.05). These results point to established and novel pathway-level associations with inherited predisposition to PBC that, on further independent replication and functional validation, may provide fresh insights into PBC etiology.Genes and Immunity advance online publication, 7 February 2013; doi:10.1038/gene.2013.1.
- Oct 2012
There is a lack of updated nationwide records regarding hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among drug addicts in Italy. The prevalence and characteristics of HCV infection in a national sample of drug addicts in Italy were determined. Five hundred forty-three drug addicts (mean age 35.3 years, 85.1% males), selected from 25 Italian Centers for Substance Dependence were enrolled to be evaluated for anti-HCV, HCV-RNA, HCV genotype, HBV markers, anti-HDV, and anti-HIV during the period of April-November 2009. Anti-HCV prevalence was 63.9%. HCV-RNA was detected in 68.3% of patients positive for anti-HCV. Genotypes 1 and 3 prevailed (49.3% and 39.7%, respectively). However, 9.3% of the subjects had genotype 4, a rate over threefold higher than the one observed in 1996 among drug addicts in central Italy. Needle sharing was the strongest independent predictor of the likelihood to contract an HCV infection (OR 8.9; 95% CI: 5.0-16.0). Only 19.3% of subjects received antiviral treatment for HCV. The prevalence of HBsAg and HIV positivity was 2.8% and 3.1%, respectively. The pattern of HBV markers showed that nearly one-third of subjects had been vaccinated, while 42.3% were negative for any marker of HCV. The prevalence of HCV infection is high among drug addicts in Italy. The incidence of Genotype 4 is increasing and this may lead to the spreading of the disease to the general population in the near future. Efforts should be made to improve the rate of antiviral treatment for drug addicts with HCV infection and vaccination against hepatitis B.
- Jul 2012
Treatment choice for chronic HBV infection is a continuously evolving issue, with a wide range of options. We aimed to evaluate the current practice of HBV therapies in the real world in Southern Italy. A prospective study enrolling over a six month period (February-July 2010) all consecutive HBsAg positive subjects, never previously treated, referred to 16 liver units in two Southern Italy regions (Calabria and Sicily). Out of 247 subjects evaluated, 116 (46.9%) had HBV-DNA undetectable or lower than 2000 UI/ml. There were 108 (43.7%) inactive carriers, 103 (41.7%) chronic hepatitis, and 36 (14.6%) liver cirrhosis. Antiviral treatment was planned in 94 (38.0%) patients (26 cases with Interferon or Pegylated Interferon and 68 with nucleos(t)ides analogues). As many as 49.5% of subjects with chronic hepatitis did not receive antiviral treatment. The majority of chronic HBsAg carrier referring centres for evaluation were not considered suitable for antiviral treatment. Nucleos(t)ides analogues are the preferred first choice for therapy. A long-lasting period of observation may be needed to make appropriate therapeutic decisions in several cases.
- Jun 2012
B lymphocytes express various different types of surface immunoglobulins that are largely unrelated to other hematological lines, although some reports have described a relationship between malignant B cells and other cells such as macrophages. Multiple genes of hematopoietic lineage, including transcription factors, are co-expressed in hematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, a phenomenon referred to as “lineage priming”. Changes in the expression levels and timing of transcription factors can induce the lineage conversion of committed cells, which indicates that the regulation of transcription factors might be particularly critical for maintaining hierarchical hematopoietic development.
To evaluate the clinical relevance of each cofactor on clinical presentation of chronic hepatitis B. Out of 1366 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive subjects consecutively observed in 79 Italian hospitals, 53 (4.3%) showed as the only cofactor hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection [hepatitis B virus (HBV)/HDV group], 130 (9.5%) hepatitis C virus (HCV) (group HBV/HCV), 6 (0.4%) human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (group HBV/HIV), 138 (10.2%) alcohol abuse (group HBV/alcohol); 109 (8.0%) subjects had at least two cofactors and 924 were in the cofactor-free (CF) group. Compared with patients in group CF those in group HBV/alcohol were older and more frequently had cirrhosis (P < 0.001), those in group HBV/HDV were younger (P < 0.001), more frequently resided in the south of the country and had cirrhosis (P <0.001), those in group HBV/HCV were older (P < 0.001) and more frequently had cirrhosis (P < 0.001). These cofactors were all independent predictors of liver cirrhosis in HBsAg positive patients. Multivariate analysis showed that an older age [odds ratio (OR) 1.06, 95% CI: 1.05-1.08], alcohol abuse with more than 8 drinks daily (OR 2.89, 95% CI: 1.81-4.62) and anti-HDV positivity (OR 3.48, 95% CI: 2.16-5.58) are all independently associated with liver cirrhosis. This association was found also for anti-HCV positivity in univariate analysis, but it was no longer associated (OR 1.23, 95% CI: 0.84-1.80) at multivariate analysis. Older age, HDV infection and alcohol abuse are the major determinants of severe liver disease in chronic HBV infection, while HCV replication plays a lesser role in the severity of hepatic damage.
Background/Aims: Nutcracker esophagus and non-specific motility disorders are the main causes of non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP), with gastroesophageal reflux in 60% of cases. Achalasia and diffuse esophageal spasm are the most frequent anomalies described in patients with dysphagia. The goal of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of esophageal body and lower esophageal sphincter motor abnormalities in patients with dysphagia, NCCP, or both. Materials and Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis of 716 patients with NCCP and/or dysphagia tested between January 1994 and December 2010. 1023 functional studies were performed, 707 of which were esopha-geal manometries, 225 esophageal pH-meters, and 44 bilimetries. We divided the patients into three groups: group 1 was composed of patients affected with dysphagia, group 2 with NCCP and group 3 with NCCP and dysphagia. Results: Manometric anomalies were detected in 84.4% of cases (p<0.001). The most frequent esophageal motility alteration was achalasia (36%). The lower esophageal sphincter was normal in 45.9% of patients (p<0.001). In all 3 groups, 80.9%, 98.8%, and 93.8, respectively, of patients showed normal upper esophageal sphincter (p=0.005). Conclusion: Our data differs from those of other studies because they were collected from and analyzed by a single tertiary level referral center by a single examiner. This could have eliminated the variability found in different hands and different experiences. The high percentage of symptomatic patients with non-pathologic esophageal motil-ity pattern suggests an unclear origin of the disease, with possible neuromuscular involvement. As a result, these patients may need more-detailed diagnostic studies.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is thought to be due to an abnormal interaction between the host immune system and commensal microflora. Within the intestinal immune system, B cells produce physiologically natural antibodies but pathologically atypical anti-neutrophil antibodies (xANCAs) are frequently observed in patients with IBD. The objective is to investigate the localisation of immunoglobulin-producing cells (IPCs) in samples of inflamed intestinal tissue taken from patients with IBD, and their possible relationship with clinical features. The IPCs in small intestinal, colonic and rectal biopsy specimens of patients with IBD were analysed by means of immunofluorescence using polyclonal rabbit anti-human Ig and goat anti-human IgM. The B cell phenotype of the IPC-positive samples was assessed using monoclonal antibodies specific for CD79, CD20, CD23, CD21, CD5, λ and κ chains. Statistical correlations were sought between the histological findings and clinical expression. The study involved 96 patients (64 with ulcerative colitis and 32 with Crohn's disease). Two different patterns of B lymphocyte infiltrates were found in the intestinal tissue: one was characterised by a strong to moderate stromal localisation of small IgM+/CD79+/CD20-/CD21-/CD23-/CD5± IPCs (42.7% of cases); in the other (57.3%) no such small IPCs were detected in stromal or epithelial tissues. IPCs were significantly less frequent in the patients with Crohn's disease than in those with ulcerative colitis (p = 0.004). Our findings suggest that different immunopathogenetic pathways underlie chronic intestinal inflammation with different clinical expressions. The presence of small B lymphocytes resembling B-1 cells also seemed to be negatively associated with Crohn's disease. It can therefore be inferred that the gut contains an alternative population of B cells that have a regulatory function.
NATURAL HISTORY OF HCV RELATED CHRONIC HEPATITIS IS INFLUENCED AND MODIFIED BY MANY FACTORS: virus features, coinfections and host characteristics. In particular, a peculiar genetic background of the host by conditioning the occurrence of intracellular metabolic derangements (i.e., insulin resistance) might contribute to accelerate the rate of progression to cirrhosis and eventually the occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and death. Likely, direct interplays between virus genotype and host genetic background might be hypothesized at this level. Morbidity and mortality in cirrhosis is primarily associated with complications of liver cirrhosis (ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, jaundice, and gastroesophageal bleeding) and HCC occurrence. Therefore the main goal of therapy is to clear viral infection and decrease liver necro-inflammation that directly relates to development of cirrhosis and HCC. Among patients treated with Interferon-based therapy, those with sustained viral response showed a significant reduction of progression to cirrhosis and development of HCC. However, a residual risk of hepatocellular carcinoma still remains indicating the need for careful follow-up using ultrasonography every six months in cirrhotic patients, even in those showing persistently normal ALT and undetectable HCV RNA levels after antiviral therapy.
The global spread of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), their high chronicity rates and their progression to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, are major public health problems. Research and intervention programmes for special population groups are needed in order to assess their infection risk and set up suitable prevention and control strategies. Aim of this paper is to give health care professionals information on HBV and HCV infections amongst migrants, drug users and prison inmates. The manuscript is an official Position Paper on behalf of the following Scientific Societies: Italian Association for the Study of the Liver (A.I.S.F.), Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (S.I.M.I.T.), Italian Federation Department's Operators and Addiction Services (FederSerD), Italian Prison Medicine and Healthcare Society (S.I.M.S.Pe.). The considered population groups, having a high prevalence HBV and HCV infections, require specific interventions. In this context, the expression "special population" refers to specific vulnerable groups at risk of social exclusion, such as migrants, prison inmates, and intravenous drug users. When dealing with special population groups, social, environmental and clinical factors should be considered when selecting candidates for therapy as indicated by national and international guidelines.
- Apr 2011
Celiac disease (CD) is a gluten-triggered enteropathy, presenting with insidious clinical patterns. It can occasionally be diagnosed in asymptomatic subjects. Our aim was to define the relationship among symptoms at diagnosis, serological markers [tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA), anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA) anti-actin antibodies (AAA)] and degree of mucosal damage. A total of 68 consecutive adult patients with CD were enrolled. Intestinal biopsies were scored according to the Marsh classification modified by Oberhuber: I-II minimal lesions or absent villous atrophy; IIIA partial villous atrophy; IIIB-C total villous atrophy (TVA). HLA-typing was done for all patients. No association between clinical presentation and severity of mucosal damage was found. Presence of EMA or tTGA was significantly associated with more severe mucosal damage (P < 0.001). Of 12 patients, 11 with AAA were also positive for TVA. The severity of mucosal damage is the main factor governing the detectability of serological markers of CD. The sensitivity of serological testing is questionable in patients with minimal lesions.
Approximately 170 million people worldwide are chronically infected by hepatitis C virus (HCV), which can result in progressive hepatic injury and fibrosis, culminating in cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. The benchmark therapy for untreated HCV patients is a combination of pegylated interferon-alpha (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV). Several studies have suggested several potential new approaches to improve HCV therapy-optimization of the dose and duration of RBV therapy, accompanied by careful clinical management, is crucial in ensuring the greatest likelihood of a long response to therapy. RBV causes serious side effects, but in clinical practice, there are no alternatives for the treatment of HCV infection. Based on our results, weight-based doses of RBV are advantageous for genotype 1-infected patients, but its success in genotype 2- and 3-infected patients is unknown, particularly for shorter treatment durations.
More than one and half of current cases of hepatocellular carcinoma in the US, Europe, and Japan are attributable to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. HCV is also the primary cause of death in patients with HCV-related cirrhosis, with annual incidences of 0.5%-5% in Europe and 4%-10% in Asia. Screening is based on serum alpha-fetoprotein determination and liver ultrasound scan, but the sensitivity of the former is far less than optimal, and screening intervals are still poorly defined for the latter. Risk factors related to the host or environment, or both, appear to be more relevant than viral factors, such as HCV genotype, in determining disease progression to cirrhosis and cancer, and include age, male gender, severity of liver disease at presentation, coinfection with hepatitis B virus or human immunodeficiency virus, and alcohol abuse. Early liver transplantation in selected cases can be curative, but most patients are not eligible for liver grafting and are treated with locoregional ablative therapies, after which recurrence is common. Recently, orally available inhibitors of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor have shown a significant, albeit modest, increment of survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, thus paving the way for modern molecular approaches to treatment of this highly malignant tumor.
Background and aims: Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is the most common cause of death from acute liver failure, and accounts for approximately 13% of cases of acute liver failure in the United States. The clinical presentation of DILI covers a wide spectrum, from asymptomatic liver test abnormalities to symptomatic acute liver disease, prolonged jaundice and disability, or overt acute or subacute liver failure. The aim of our study was to evaluate the number of DILI cases admitted to our Unit and to identify the drugs responsible. Thus, we reviewed all clinical records of patients with DILI admitted to our Unit from 1996 to 2006. Patients and methods: A database was constructed, reporting demographic, clinical features at onset, laboratory results, suspected drugs and follow-up. Liver damage was defined as hepatocellular, cholestatic or mixed, according to clinical and laboratory data. Results: Forty-six patients were admitted with a diagnosis of DILI. Presentation was jaundice in 22 patients and hepatic failure in 3 (all attributed to nimesulide). Liver damage was of a cytolytic pattern in 19 cases (41%), cholestatic in 15 (33%) and mixed in 12 (26%). Jaundice was found to be higher in nimesulide-induced liver damage compared to other drugs (p = 0.007). Three out of 14 patients with nimesulide-induced DILI developed encephalopathy and/or ascites. Time of recovery in the nimesulide group was significantly lower than DILI from other drugs (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs and antimicrobials are the most common causes of DILI. Nimesulide-induced DILI is usually reversible upon discontinuation of the drug, but occasionally progresses to liver failure.
Introduction: The goal of antiviral therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C is to slow or halt the progression of fibrosis and prevent the development of cirrhosis. Accordingly, antiviral treatment is proposed for a large population of patients with chronic hepatitis. Areas covered: The standard-of-care for chronic hepatitis C is the combination of pegylated IFN (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin. The use of these drugs has been correlated with a range of adverse effects, including influenza-like symptoms, hematological changes and neuropsychiatric disturbances. The effects of these adverse events associated with PEG-IFN therapy are manifold and are a major reason why patients decline or stop therapy. This review addresses the screening for adverse event risk factors and guides the patient to success with adherence strategies. Expert opinion: Knowledge of the side effects correlated with PEG-IFN is very relevant for clinicians because it can allow them to arrange the best methods for treating these effects and avoid the discontinuation of antiviral treatment. Moreover, the use of new antiviral drugs will considerably shorten treatment periods reducing many of the above-described side effects and, thus, increase adherence to scheduled therapy.
Serum anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMA) are the serological hallmark of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), yet up to 15% of PBC sera are AMA negative at routine indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) while being referred to as "probable" cases. The diagnostic role of PBC-specific antinuclear antibodies (ANA) remains to be determined. We will report herein data on the accuracy of new laboratory tools for AMA and PBC-specific ANA in a large series of PBC sera that were AMA-negative at IIF. We will also provide a discussion of the history and current status of AMA detection methods. We included IIF AMA-negative PBC sera (n=100) and sera from patients with other chronic liver diseases (n=104) that had been independently tested for IIF AMA and ANA; sera were blindly tested with an ELISA PBC screening test including two ANA (gp210, sp100) and a triple (pMIT3) AMA recombinant antigens. Among IIF AMA-negative sera, 43/100 (43%) manifested reactivity using the PBC screening test. The same test was positive for 6/104 (5.8%) control sera. IIF AMA-negative/PBC screen-positive sera reacted against pMIT3 (11/43), gp210 (8/43), Sp100 (17/43), both pMIT3 and gp210 (1/43), or both pMIT3 and Sp100 (6/43). Concordance rates between the ANA pattern on HEp-2 cells and specific Sp100 and gp210 ELISA results in AMA-negative subjects were 92% for nuclear dots and Sp100 and 99% for nuclear rim and gp210. Our data confirm the hypothesis that a substantial part of IIF AMA-negative (formerly coined "probable") PBC cases manifest disease-specific autoantibodies when tested using newly available tools and thus overcome the previously suggested diagnostic classification. As suggested by the recent literature, we are convinced that the proportion of AMA-negative PBC cases will be significantly minimized by the use of new laboratory methods and recombinant antigens.
HCV has been classified into no fewer than six major genotypes and a series of subtypes. Each HCV genotype is unique with respect to its nucleotide sequence, geographic distribution, and response to therapy. Genotypes 1, 2, and 3 are common throughout North America and Europe. HCV genotype 4 (HCV-4) is common in the Middle East and in Africa, where it is responsible for more than 80% of HCV infections. It has recently spread to several European countries. HCV-4 is considered a major cause of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver transplantation in these regions. Although HCV-4 is the cause of approximately 20% of the 170 million cases of chronic hepatitis C in the world, it has not been the subject of widespread research. Therefore, this document, drafted by a panel of international experts, aimed to review current knowledge on the epidemiology, natural history, clinical, histological features, and treatment of HCV-4 infections.
- Nov 2010
To assess the evidence for tobacco smoking as a risk factor for the causation of chronic pancreatitis. We performed a meta-analysis with random-effects models to estimate pooled relative risks (RRs) of chronic pancreatitis for current, former, and ever smokers, in comparison to never smokers. We also performed dose-response, heterogeneity, publication bias, and sensitivity analyses. Ten case-control studies and 2 cohort studies that evaluated, overall, 1705 patients with chronic pancreatitis satisfied the inclusion criteria. When contrasted to never smokers, the pooled risk estimates for current smokers was 2.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-4.2) overall and 2.5 (95% CI, 1.3-4.6) when data were adjusted for alcohol consumption. A dose-response effect of tobacco use on the risk was ascertained: the RR for subjects smoking less than 1 pack per day was 2.4 (95% CI, 0.9-6.6) and increased to 3.3 (95% CI, 1.4-7.9) in those smoking 1 or more packs per day. The risk diminished significantly after smoking cessation, as the RR estimate for former smokers dropped to a value of 1.4 (95% CI, 1.1-1.9). Tobacco smoking may enhance the risk of developing chronic pancreatitis. Recommendation for smoking cessation, besides alcohol abstinence, should be incorporated in the management of patients with chronic pancreatitis.
A genome-wide association screen for primary biliary cirrhosis risk alleles was performed in an Italian cohort. The results from the Italian cohort replicated IL12A and IL12RB associations, and a combined meta-analysis using a Canadian dataset identified newly associated loci at SPIB (P = 7.9 x 10(-11), odds ratio (OR) = 1.46), IRF5-TNPO3 (P = 2.8 x 10(-10), OR = 1.63) and 17q12-21 (P = 1.7 x 10(-10), OR = 1.38).
- Jul 2010
Evaluation of the interaction between alcohol intake and cofactors [hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), body mass index] and coffee consumption on the risk of cirrhosis. Seven hundred and forty-nine consecutive patients with chronic liver disease referring to units for liver or alcohol diseases in Italy during a 6-months period. Teetotalers were excluded. The odds ratios (OR) for cirrhosis were evaluated using chronic hepatitis cases as the control group. An alcohol intake of more than 3 units/day resulted associated with the likelihood of cirrhosis both in males (OR 4.3; 95% CI=2.5-7.3) and in females (OR 5.7; 95% CI=2.3-14.5). A multiplicative interaction on the risk of cirrhosis between risky alcohol intake and HBsAg or HCV-Ab/HCV-RNA positivity was observed. A reduction of cirrhosis risk was observed in subjects consuming more than 3 alcohol units/day with increasing coffee intake. The OR for the association with cirrhosis decreased from 2.3 (95% CI=1.2-4.4) in subjects drinking 0-2 cups of coffee/day to 1.4 (95% CI=0.6-3.6) in those drinking more than 2 cups/day. In subjects with an alcohol intake >3 units/day the coexistence of HBV or HCV multiplies the risk of cirrhosis. Coffee represents a modulator of alcoholic cirrhosis risk.
- Jun 2010
Unlabelled: The incidence of de novo development of esophageal varices (EV) in patients with compensated liver cirrhosis has been determined by few studies in the short term and never in the long term. The aims of the present study were to determine the incidence and the risk factors associated with the development of EV and to assess whether antiviral treatment and achievement of sustained virologic response (SVR) may prevent de novo EV development in patients with HCV-induced cirrhosis. We studied 218 patients with compensated EV-free, HCV-induced cirrhosis consecutively enrolled between 1989 and 1992 at three referral centers in Milan, Italy. Endoscopic surveillance was performed at 3-year intervals according to international guidelines. SVR was defined as undetectable serum HCV-RNA 24 weeks after treatment discontinuation. During a median follow-up of 11.4 years, 149/218 (68%) patients received antiviral treatment and 34 (22.8%) achieved SVR. None of the SVR patients developed EV compared with 22 (31.8%) of the 69 untreated subjects (P < 0.0001) and 45 (39.1%) of the 115 non-SVR patients (P < 0.0001). On multivariate analysis, HCV genotype 1b (hazard ratio [HR] 2.40; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17-4.90) and baseline model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score (HR 1.20; 95% CI 1.07-1.35 for 1 point increase) were independent predictors of EV. Conclusion: In the long term, the achievement of SVR prevents the development of EV in patients with compensated HCV-induced cirrhosis. Therefore, in these patients, endoscopic surveillance can be safely delayed or avoided. Genotype 1b infection and MELD score identify the subset of patients at higher risk of EV development who need tailored endoscopic surveillance.
Only a small proportion of subjects referring to hospitals for hepatitis C virus (HCV) positivity receives antiviral therapy. To evaluate the rate of antiviral treatment and the causes for no treatment in HCV-RNA positive subjects seen in hospital settings. A prospective study enrolling over a 6-month period (February-July 2009) all consecutive anti-HCV positive subjects initially referred (naïve patients) to 12 liver units in Southern Italy for HCV treatment. Out of 608 subjects evaluated, 74 (12.2%) had no detectable HCV-RNA in the serum and thus were excluded. Of the remaining 534 HCV-RNA positive subjects, 357 (66.9%) were not treated for the following reasons: 49.9% were older than 65 years of age (75% of them >70 years), 14.3% had normal liver enzymes, 13.2% had compensated/decompensated cirrhosis, 10.4% refused treatment, 9.8% had ongoing substance or alcohol abuse. Multivariate analysis showed that females (O.R. 2.27; C.I. 95% 1.05-4.90) and subjects with low educational level (O.R. 4.38; C.I. 95% 1.27-15.11) were more likely to decline therapy. The majority of patients with HCV infection does not receive antiviral treatment. The effectiveness of the current standard therapy for HCV infection is low despite its good efficacy.
All co-authors (50)