Lay Summaries - Volume 71 Issue 6

Lay Summary: We assessed the safety and efficacy of public health care using no-cost all-oral generic direct-acting antiviral drugs against hepatitis C in the state of Punjab, India. The goal is elimination of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) by 2030 and involves primary care providers at 25 sites in the state. We enrolled 48,088 individuals (63.8% male; mean age 42.1 years; 80.5% rural; 14.8% compensated cirrhotic; 69.9% genotype 3) between 18th June 2016 to 31st July 2018. Cure was achieved in 91.6% of patients, demonstrating that decentralized care of CHC with generic all-oral regimens is safe and effective.
Lay Summary: Hepatitis B virus modulates liver macrophage function in order to favour the establishment and likely maintenance of infection. It impairs the production of the antiviral cytokine IL-1β, while promoting that of IL-10 in the microenvironment. This phenotype can be recapitulated in naive liver macrophages or monocyte-derived-macrophages ex vivo by short exposure to the virus or cells replicating the virus, thus suggesting an “easy to implement” mechanism of inhibition.
Lay Summary: Direct-acting antiviral medications are able to cure hepatitis C in the majority of patients. The most common genotype of hepatitis C in Europe and the United States is genotype 1a or 1b and most clinical trials focused on these genotypes. We report that in a group of African patients, most of them had unusual (non-1a/1b) genotype 1 subtypes, and that the cure rate in these unusual genotypes was lower than in genotypes 1a and 1b.
    Viral Hepatitis
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    Elisabetta Degasperi, Angiola Spinetti, Andrea Lombardi, Simona Landonio, Maria Cristina Rossi, Luisa Pasulo, Pietro Pozzoni, Alessia Giorgini, Paolo Fabris, Antonietta Romano, Lorenzo Lomonaco, Massimo Puoti, Maria Vinci, Federico Gatti, Giada Carolo, Alessia Zoncada, Paolo Bonfanti, Francesco Paolo Russo, Alessio Aghemo, Alessandro Soria, Riccardo Centenaro, Franco Maggiolo, Pierangelo Rovere, Francesca Pasin, Veronica Paon, Giovanni Faggiano, Alessandro Vario, Glenda Grossi, Roberta Soffredini, Canio Carriero, Stefania Paolucci, Franco Noventa, Alfredo Alberti, Pietro Lampertico, Stefano Fagiuoli on behalf of the NAVIGATORE-Lombardia and Veneto Study Groups
    Journal of Hepatology, Vol. 71, Issue 6, p1106–1115
Lay Summary: This is the largest European real-life study evaluating effectiveness and safety of sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir (SOF/VEL/VOX) in a large cohort of consecutive patients with hepatitis C virus infection and a prior direct-acting antiviral failure, who were treated within the NAVIGATORE Lombardia and Veneto Networks, in Italy. This study demonstrated excellent effectiveness (98% and 96% sustained virological response rates at week 4 and 12, respectively) and an optimal safety profile of SOF/VEL/VOX. Cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma onset were the only features associated with treatment failure.
Lay Summary: We estimated the rates of chronic comorbidities other than liver disease between those who were cured and those who failed treatment for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Our findings showed that the rates of these non-liver diseases were largely reduced for those who were cured with interferon-based treatments. Early HCV treatments could provide many benefits in the prevention of various HCV complications beyond liver disease.
Lay Summary: For intestinal bacteria to enter the systemic circulation, they must cross the mucus and epithelial layer, as well as the gut-vascular barrier. Cirrhosis disrupts all 3 of these barriers, giving bacteria access to the portal-venous circulation and thus, the gut-liver axis. Diminished luminal bile acid availability, cirrhosis and the associated reduction in farnesoid x receptor (FXR) signaling seem, at least partly, to mediate these changes, as FXR-agonists reduce bacterial translocation via the portal-venous route to the liver in cirrhosis.
Lay Summary: The lack of optimized public health screening strategies for the detection of liver fibrosis in adults without known liver disease presents a major healthcare challenge. Analyses from 6 independent international cohorts, with transient elastography measurements, show that a community-based risk-stratification strategy for alcohol-related and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases is cost-effective and potentially cost saving for our healthcare systems, as it leads to earlier identification of patients.
Lay Summary: We applied next-generation sequencing and conducted an in-depth genomic analysis of hepatocellular carcinomas from a Chinese patient cohort. The results delineate the genomic events that characterize hepatocellular carcinomas in Chinese patients and identify WNK2 as a driver associated with early tumor recurrence after curative resection.
Lay Summary: Sorafenib given orally is the recommended treatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT), also known as radioembolisation, microscopic, radioactive resin or glass spheres are introduced into the blood vessels that feed the tumours in the liver. This study found that the addition of SIRT with 90yttrium-loaded resin microspheres to sorafenib treatment in people with advanced HCC did not significantly improve overall survival compared with sorafenib treatment alone. However, the results give an indication of how future studies using this combination therapy in people with advanced HCC could be designed.
Lay Summary: Sorafenib has been the standard frontline systemic treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma for over a decade. Its tolerability is limited by different adverse events, which might lead to its permanent discontinuation in a sizeable proportion of patients. After a careful analysis of potential confounders, we demonstrated that the physicians’ experience in managing adverse events related to sorafenib has improved over time, with longer treatment periods and less permanent discontinuation for toxicities. More importantly, these improvements also translated into longer patient survival. Our results have relevant repercussions in clinical practice and in the design of future clinical trials.
Lay Summary: Liver adenomatosis is a rare disease characterized by the presence of 10 or more hepatocellular adenomas that may rarely be of genetic origin. Patients with liver adenomatosis have multiple adenomas of different subtypes, with a risk of bleeding and malignant transformation that justify a specific management and follow-up.
Lay Summary: Herein, we report that a cell adhesion molecule termed integrin β1 (ITGβ1) plays a key role in the progression of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). ITGβ1 is released from hepatocytes under lipotoxic stress as a cargo of extracellular vesicles, and mediates monocyte adhesion to liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, which is an essential step in hepatic inflammation. In a mouse model of NASH, blocking ITGβ1 reduces liver inflammation, injury and fibrosis. Hence, ITGβ1 inhibition may serve as a new therapeutic strategy for NASH.
Lay Summary: The microenvironment is crucial for the self-renewal and development of hepatoma stem cells, which lead to the development of liver cancer. Lymphatic endothelial cells are an important component of this niche microenvironment, helping hepatoma stem cells to self-renew and escape immune attack, by upregulating IL-17A signaling. Thus, targeting IL-17A signaling is a potential strategy for the treatment of hepatoma.
Lay Summary: The incidence of fatty liver disease is reaching epidemic levels in the USA, with more than 30% of adults having NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), which can progress to more severe non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Herein, we show that disruption of the intestinal epithelial barrier and gut vascular barrier are early events in the development of NASH. We show that the drug obeticholic acid protects against barrier disruption and thereby prevents the development of NASH, providing further evidence for its use in the prevention or treatment of NASH.
Lay Summary: We studied the incidence of malignancies in a community cohort of adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in reference to age- and sex-matched adults without NAFLD. After 21 years of longitudinal follow-up, NAFLD was associated with a nearly 2-fold increase in the risk of developing cancers, predominantly of the liver, gastrointestinal tract and uterus. The association with increased cancer risk was stronger in NAFLD than obesity.