Lay Summaries - Volume 67 Issue 5

Lay Summary: We investigated 4,568 patients with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroclearance. Female patients aged 50 years or below have zero risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after HBsAg seroclearance, whereas female patients aged above 50 years and all male patients are still at risk of HCC.
Lay Summary: Late diagnosis of HBV and HCV represents a missed opportunity to reduce the risk of serious liver disease. Our results identify successes in earlier diagnosis over time using risk-based testing as well as groups that are being missed for screening such as those who do not see a physician regularly and those with serious mental illness.
Lay Summary: Nucleos(t)ide analogue (NA) is usually a life-long therapy for HBV patients. This randomised controlled study investigated the discontinuation of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) therapy in HBeAg-negative patients. Of the patients who stopped TDF therapy, 62% remained off-therapy to Week 144, of which 43% of patients had achieved either HBsAg loss or HBV DNA <2,000 IU/ml. This offers a potential for long-term HBV-suppressed patients without cirrhosis to stop NA therapy under strict surveillance.
Lay Summary: Hepatitis E virus (HEV), as its name suggests, is a hepatotropic virus, i.e. it causes damage to the liver (hepatitis). Our findings show that HEV can also be associated with a range of injury to the nervous system.
Lay Summary: The risks of early HCC occurrence and recurrence after viral eradication were similar between IFN-based and IFN-free therapies. Post-treatment levels of WFA+M2BP may be helpful screening biomarkers for assessing the risk of HCC after IFN-free therapy.
Lay Summary: The alfapump® moves abdominal fluid into the bladder from where it is then removed by urination. Compared with standard treatment, the alfapump reduces the need for large volume paracentesis (manual fluid removal by needle) in patients with medically untreatable ascites. This can improve life quality for these patients.
Lay Summary: Cirrhosis is associated with thrombosis in portal and systemic circulation. Enhanced levels of factor VIII have been suggested to play a role but the underlying mechanism is still unclear. Here we show that patients with cirrhosis display a concomitant increase of factor VIII and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Escherichia coli and suggest that LPS contributes to the release of factor VIII from endothelial cells.
Lay Summary: This study examines the impact of liver transplantation in primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) with organs donated after circulatory death (DCD), compared to donation after brainstem death (DBD). We show that in appropriately selected patients, the outcomes for DCD transplantation mirror those using DBD livers, with no significant differences in complication rate, patient survival or transplanted liver survival. In an era of organ shortage and increasing wait-list times, DCD livers represent a potential treatment option for transplantation in PSC.
Lay Summary: In acute liver failure, miR-1224 expression is modulated by oxidative stress. This leads to a decrease in hepatocyte cell proliferation and increase in apoptosis. Increased serum levels of miR-1224 could be a useful diagnostic marker in patients with acute liver failure.
Lay Summary: In this study, SCD1 was found to play a critical role in regulating liver tumor-initiating cells and sorafenib resistance through the regulation of ER stress-mediated differentiation. Targeting SCD1 in combination with sorafenib may be a novel therapeutic strategy against liver cancer.
Lay Summary: The methodology of clinical practice guidelines for resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) evaluated with the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation (AGREE II) instrument is generally poor. However, there are some clinical practice guidelines that are based upon higher quality evidence and can form the framework within which patients with HCC can be selected for surgical resection. Future guideline development should be informed by the use of the AGREE II instrument.
Lay Summary: This exploratory pooled analysis showed that treatment with sorafenib provides a survival benefit in all subgroups of patients with HCC; however, the magnitude of benefit is greater in patients with disease confined to the liver (without extrahepatic spread), or in those with hepatitis C virus, or a lower neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, an indicator of inflammation status. These results help inform the prognosis of patients receiving sorafenib therapy and provide further refinements for the design of trials testing new agents vs. sorafenib.
Lay Summary: ER calcium dysregulation was observed in rats fed a cafeteria diet or high fat pellets, with fluctuations in sensor release correlating with fat intake. Attenuation of sensor release, as well as food intake was observed during administration of dantrolene, a drug that stabilizes ER calcium. The study describes a novel technique for liver research and provides insight into cellular processes that may contribute to the pathogenesis of obesity and fatty liver disease.
Lay Summary: Alcoholic liver disease is a major cause of preventable mortality worldwide, and lacks specific pharmacological therapies. Recent studies have recognized that macrophage migration inhibitor factor (MIF) has a critical role in the inflammatory response to liver damage. However, the cells that produce this protein are still unknown. Our present findings reveal that hepatocytes, the main cell type in the liver, are primarily responsible for MIF production in response to alcohol, which promotes liver injury. Our study suggests that drugs inhibiting MIF production could be beneficial in treating patients with liver disease due to excessive alcohol consumption.
Lay Summary: Higher than normal levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in the bloodstream may be a sign of a health problem. Individuals with macro-AST have elevated blood AST levels, without ongoing disease and often undergo unnecessary medical tests before the diagnosis of macro-AST is established. We found a genetic variant in the GOT1 gene associated with macro-AST. Genetic testing for this variant may aid diagnosis of macro-AST.