Lay Summaries - Volume 67 Issue 1

Lay Summary: New treatment options with all-oral second generation direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have resulted in the potential to cure chronic hepatitis C infection, but at high costs. Analyses from HCV drug prescription data of patients with statutory health insurance in Germany from 2010–2015, showed that DAAs replaced treatments with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, but accompanied by a disproportionate rise in costs. Although the monthly number of patients under treatment did not increase over time, the total number of patients yearly treated with DAAs increased from ~7000 patients in 2014 to ~20,100 in 2015, with a trend to shorter treatment regimens. Under observed conditions ~18,000 patients can be cured yearly, making a substantial reduction of the estimated 160,000 diagnosed patients in Germany achievable.
Lay Summary: We evaluated efficacy and safety of all-oral DAA regimens in a large French nationwide observational cohort study of HIV/HCV co-infected patients. Sustained virological response 12 weeks after treatment cessation was 93.5% overall. The all-oral DAA regimens were well-tolerated and most common adverse effects were fatigue and digestive disorders.
Lay Summary: Over three-quarters of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who have hepatitis C can achieve viral cure with direct-acting antiviral drugs. Among patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who subsequently received liver transplantation, over 90% of patients can achieve viral cure.
Lay Summary: The safety of carvedilol and other non-selective beta-blocker drugs in patients with liver cirrhosis and ascites is still debated. In this study, we have shown that carvedilol therapy in these patients was associated with reduced risk of mortality, particularly in those with mild ascites. We concluded that low dose, chronic treatment with carvedilol in patients with liver cirrhosis and ascites is not detrimental.
Lay Summary: Therapy with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) has been proposed as a means to improve results of solid organ transplantation. One of the potential MSC role could be to induce tolerance after liver transplantation, i.e. allowing the cessation of several medications with severe side effects. This study is the first-in-man use of MSC therapy in ten liver transplant recipients. This study did not show toxicity after a single MSC infusion but it was not sufficient to allow withdrawal of immunosuppression.
Lay Summary: Extensive preoperative chemotherapy for patients with colorectal liver metastases (CLM) could induce hepatic atrophy. A higher degree of atrophy is an independent predictor of postoperative hepatic insufficiency and death in patients with CLM undergoing preoperative chemotherapy and resection.
Lay Summary: Survival in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected patients with cirrhosis and successfully treated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is mainly influenced by early hepatic decompensation. HCV eradication after treatment with new direct-acting antiviral agents could improve overall survival of HCC patients through long-term preservation of liver function.
Lay Summary: Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of CCA is key in finding new valuable diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, as well as therapeutic targets. This study provides evidence that SOX17 regulates the differentiation and maintenance of the biliary phenotype, and its downregulation promotes their tumorigenic transformation. SOX17 acts as a tumor suppressor in CCA and its genetic, molecular and/or pharmacological restoration may represent a new promising therapeutic strategy. Moreover, SOX17 expression correlates with the outcome of patients after tumor resection, being a potential prognostic biomarker.
Lay Summary: The patients affected by colorectal liver metastases often receive chemotherapy before liver resection, but chemotherapy causes liver injuries that may increase operative risks and reduce tolerance to further chemotherapy. The authors analyzed the reversibility of the liver injuries after the chemotherapy interruption. Liver injuries persist for a long time after chemotherapy. Sinusoidal dilatation and nodular regenerative hyperplasia regress only nine months after the end of chemotherapy, whereas steatosis and steatohepatitis persist even after this long interval.
Lay Summary: Patients with liver cancer included in the waiting list for liver transplantation are at risk of tumor progression and death. Stereotactic body radiotherapy may be a good alternative to conventional therapies to reduce this risk.
Lay Summary: We found that global or thymus-specific ablation of the NIK gene results in fatal autoimmune liver disease in mice. NIK-deficient mice develop liver inflammation, injury, and fibrosis. Our findings indicate that thymic NIK is essential for the maintenance of liver integrity and homeostasis.
Lay Summary: The term cholemic nephropathy describes renal dysfunction together with characteristic morphological alterations of the kidney in obstructive cholestasis that can be mimicked by ligation of the common bile duct in mice. Feeding the hydrophilic bile acid norUDCA to bile duct ligated mice leads to a significant amelioration of the renal phenotype due to the formation of highly hydrophilic metabolites enriched in the kidney and may therefore represent a medical treatment for cholemic nephropathy.
Lay Summary: Individuals misusing alcohol who carry a particular variant of the gene PNPLA3 are more at risk of developing severe alcoholic hepatitis, a condition with a poor chance of survival. The longer-term outcome in people with this condition who survive the initial illness is strongly influenced by their ability to remain abstinent from alcohol. However, carriers of this gene variant are less likely to survive even if they are able to stop drinking completely. Knowing if someone carries this gene variant could influence the way in which they are managed.
Lay Summary: Development of liver injury following prolonged use of minocycline for acne is a rare but potentially severe form of drug-induced liver injury. Our study demonstrates that individuals who are HLA-B*35:02 carriers are at increased risk of developing minocycline related liver injury. These results may help doctors more rapidly and confidently diagnose affected patients and possibly reduce the risk of liver injury in individuals receiving minocycline going forward.