Lay Summaries - Volume 70 Issue 5
Lay Summary: Previously, infections with hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus led to poor outcomes in kidney transplant recipients. However, the outcomes of kidney transplants in patients with viral suppression are as good as those for kidney transplants in non-infected patients. Antiviral therapy should be systematically proposed to hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C-infected kidney transplant recipients or candidates to prevent the deleterious hepatic and extrahepatic impact of chronic viral replication. Recent access to direct-acting antivirals in patients with hepatitis C virus and renal dysfunction provides exciting new opportunities.
Lay Summary: There is a high burden of hepatitis C infection among prisoners worldwide. Prisoners who continue to inject drugs are also at risk of developing new infections. For this reason, the prison setting provides an opportunity to treat those people at greatest risk of infection and to stop transmission to others. We developed a new method of providing hepatitis C treatment to prisoners, in which nurses rather than doctors assessed prisoners locally at each prison site. Treatment was safe and most prisoners were cured. Such programs will contribute greatly to achieving the World Health Organization’s hepatitis C elimination goals.
Lay Summary: Overestimation of renal function frequently occurs in patients with liver cirrhosis when using serum creatinine. Decreased muscle mass has a great impact on overestimation of kidney function especially in male patients with cirrhosis. Compared with creatinine, cystatin C was more closely correlated with measured glomerular filtration rate and had a higher predictive ability for renal complications and survival than creatinine.
Lay Summary: This study looks at patients who require a liver transplant to save their lives; this liver can be donated by a person who has died either after their heart has stopped (donation after cardiac death [DCD]) or after the brain has been injured and can no longer support life (donation after brainstem death [DBD]). We know that livers donated after brainstem death function better than those after cardiac death, but there are not enough of these livers for everyone, so we wished to help patients decide whether it was better for them to accept an early offer of a DCD liver than waiting longer to receive a “better” liver from a DBD donor. We found that patients were more likely to survive if they accepted the offer of a liver transplant as soon as possible (DCD or DBD), especially if their liver disease was very severe.
Lay Summary: Radiofrequency ablation and liver transplantation are treatment options for early stages of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). After ablation some patients will experience recurrence or metastatic spread of the initial tumor or may develop new tumors within the liver. Despite close follow-up, these recurrences can progress rapidly and exceed transplant criteria, preventing the patient from receiving a transplant. We identified that patients with HCC >2 cm and higher serum alpha-fetoprotein are at greater risk of recurrence beyond the transplant criteria. These data suggest that liver transplantation should be considered immediately after the first HCC recurrence for these patients.
Lay Summary: In this cohort of cirrhotic patients, interferon-free therapies achieved a high rate of sustained virologic response (>95%); however, we reported a risk of de novo hepatocellular carcinoma of 3.73 per 100 person-years and a clear-cut time association with antiviral therapy. The time association between starting direct-acting antivirals and developing hepatocellular carcinoma, together with the association with the presence of non-characterized nodules at baseline ultrasound, suggests that antiviral therapy elicits a mechanism (probably immune-related) that primes the growth and clinical recognition of hepatocellular carcinoma early during follow-up. As a result, short-term liver cancer risk is significantly increased.
Lay Summary: In a pan-European study of 467,336 men and women, we found that physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of developing liver cancers over the next decade. This risk was independent of other liver cancer risk factors, and did not vary by age, gender, smoking status, body weight, and alcohol consumption.
Lay Summary: There is currently no prognostic model specifically developed for recommended or ideal transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) candidates with hepatocellular carcinoma, despite these patients being frequently identified as the best target population in pivotal randomized controlled trials. The six-and-twelve score provides patient survival prediction, especially in ideal candidates of TACE, outperforming other currently available models in both training and validation sets, as well as different subgroups. With cut-off values of 6 and 12, the score can stratify ideal TACE candidates into 3 strata with significantly different outcomes and may shed light on risk stratification of these patients in clinical practice as well as in clinical trials.
Lay Summary: We classified a novel genotype of the full-length hepatitis B virus X gene (HBx), HBx-E2. This genotype was identified in tumor and nontumor tissues from patients with hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma. HBx-E2 could preoperatively predict the prognosis of patients with intermediate stage hepatocellular carcinoma, after resection.
Lay Summary: Liver cancer stem cells harbor high tumor-initiating potential and confer resistance to typical therapies, but the mechanism underlying their self-renewal remains elusive. LncHDAC2 augments the self-renewal of these cells, promoting tumor propagation. In liver cancer stem cells, lncHDAC2 activates Hedgehog signaling to initiate liver tumorigenesis. Therefore, lncHDAC2 and the Hedgehog signaling pathway may serve as biomarkers and potential drug targets for hepatocellular carcinoma.
Lay Summary: Efavirenz is widely prescribed for HIV-infected patients but has some side effects. It can increase lipid levels in patients’ blood and liver. Here we show that efavirenz can activate a unique liver protein called PXR which mediates the adverse effects of efavirenz on lipid levels in mouse models.
Lay Summary: Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a cholestatic liver disease characterized by progressive bile duct destruction. One serious complication of PSC is reduced bone mass resulting in increased fracture risk. Herein, we demonstrate that Th17 cells mediate bone loss in PSC by inducing bone resorption, which suggests that antibody-based IL-17 blockade might be beneficial for the treatment of bone loss in affected patients.
Lay Summary: Diabetes occurring in cirrhosis as a direct consequence of loss of liver function should regress after transplantation of a new functioning liver, though the pathophysiological mechanisms are unclear. This is the first study evaluating the contribution of all 3 direct determinants of insulin-dependent glucose regulation using a sophisticated mathematical model. Results show that β-cell function is the key process governing favourable or detrimental changes in glucose regulation in cirrhotic patients undergoing transplantation, pointing to the need to develop therapies to sustain β-cell function in these individuals.
Lay Summary: As the main cause of death in critically ill patients, sepsis remains a major health issue lacking efficacious therapies. While current clinical literature suggests an important role for inflammation, metabolic aspects of sepsis have mostly been overlooked. Here, we show that mice with an impaired metabolic response, due to deficiency of the nuclear receptor PPARα in the liver, exhibit enhanced mortality upon bacterial infection despite a similar inflammatory response, suggesting that metabolic interventions may be a viable strategy for improving sepsis outcomes.
Lay Summary: Activation of the innate immune system contributes to inflammation in the progression of alcohol-related liver disease, as well as to the resolution of injury. Here we show that the protein IRF3 modulates the innate immune environment of the liver in a mouse model of alcoholic hepatitis. It does this by increasing the apoptotic cell death of immune cells that promote the resolution of injury.