Publications by authors named "Masanori Atsukawa"

134 Publications

Efficacy and safety of oral semaglutide in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease complicated by type 2 diabetes mellitus: A pilot study.

JGH Open 2022 Jul 16;6(7):503-511. Epub 2022 Jun 16.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Nippon Medical School Tokyo Japan.

Background And Aim: This study aimed to clarify the efficacy and safety of oral semaglutide treatment in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) complicated by type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Methods: This was a single-arm, open-label pilot study. Sixteen patients with NAFLD who received oral semaglutide for T2DM were included in the analysis. Oral semaglutide was initiated at a dose of 3 mg once daily, and the dose was sequentially increased to 7 mg at 4 weeks and 14 mg at 8 weeks (maintenance dose) until the end of the 24-week trial.

Results: Body weight and levels of liver-related biochemistry, plasma glucose, and hemoglobin A1c decreased significantly from baseline to 12 weeks. These significant decreases were maintained until the end of the trial. Additionally, levels of the homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance and triglyceride significantly decreased at 24 weeks. Controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) values significantly decreased from baseline to 24 weeks. Changes in body weight were correlated with those in levels of alanine aminotransferase ( = 0.52) and CAP ( = 0.72). As for liver fibrosis markers, significant decreases from baseline to 24 weeks in levels of the fibrosis-4 index, ferritin, and type IV collagen 7 s were found; however, the liver stiffness measurement did not significantly decrease. Most adverse events were grade 1-2 transient gastrointestinal disorders.

Conclusions: Oral semaglutide treatment in patients with NAFLD complicated by T2DM improved impaired liver function, hypertriglyceridemia, insulin resistance, and hepatic steatosis, as well as improving diabetic status and reducing body weight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jgh3.12780DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9260206PMC
July 2022

Glasgow prognostic score predicts survival in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma treated with lenvatinib: a multicenter analysis.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022 Aug 29;34(8):857-864. Epub 2022 Jun 29.

Department of Gastroenterology, Saiseikai Niigata Hospital, Niigata.

Objective: The use of Glasgow prognostic score (GPS), calculated using the serum C-reactive protein and albumin levels, to predict the outcomes of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with lenvatinib was investigated in this study.

Methods: A total of 508 patients with Child-Pugh class A HCC treated with lenvatinib were included in this study.

Results: The median overall and progression-free survivals were 20.4 months [95% confidence interval (CI), 17.7-23.2 months] and 7.5 months (95% CI, 6.8-8.5 months), respectively. The median overall survivals of patients with a GPS of 0, 1, and 2 were 28.5, 16.0, and 9.1 months, respectively (P < 0.001). When adjusted for age, sex, performance status, etiology, α-fetoprotein, macroscopic vascular invasion, extrahepatic spread, history of sorafenib therapy, and GPS, a GPS of 1 [hazard ratio (HR), 1.664; 95% CI, 1.258-2.201; P < 0.001] and a GPS of 2 (HR, 2.664; 95% CI, 1.861-3.813; P < 0.001) were found to be independently associated with overall survival. The median progression-free survivals of patients with a GPS of 0, 1, and 2 were 8.8, 6.8, and 3.8 months, respectively (P < 0.001). When adjusted for the same factors of overall survival, a GPS of 2 (HR, 2.010; 95% CI, 1.452-2.784; P < 0.001) was found to be independently associated with progression-free survival. As the albumin-bilirubin with tumor node metastasis score increased, the proportion of patients with a GPS of 1 or 2 increased (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: GPS can be used to predict survival in patients with unresectable HCC who were treated with lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MEG.0000000000002398DOI Listing
August 2022

Prognostic impact of C-reactive protein and alpha-fetoprotein in immunotherapy score in hepatocellular carcinoma patients treated with atezolizumab plus bevacizumab: a multicenter retrospective study.

Hepatol Int 2022 Jun 24. Epub 2022 Jun 24.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate the utility of C-reactive protein (CRP) and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in immunotherapy (CRAFITY) score in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients receiving atezolizumab and bevacizumab (Atez/Bev).

Methods: This retrospective cohort study included a total of 297 patients receiving Atez/Bev from September 2020 to November 2021 at 21 different institutions and hospital groups in Japan. Patients with AFP ≥ 100 ng/mL and those with CRP ≥ 1 mg/dL were assigned a CRAFITY score of 1 point.

Results: The patients were assigned CRAFITY scores of 0 points (n = 147 [49.5%]), 1 point (n = 111 [37.4%]), and 2 points (n = 39 [13.1%]). AFP ≥ 100 ng/mL and CRP ≥ 1.0 mg/dL were significantly associated with progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). The median PFS in the CRAFITY score 0, 1, and 2 groups was 11.8 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.4-not applicable [NA]), 6.5 months (95% CI 4.6-8.0), and 3.2 months (95% CI 1.9-5.0), respectively (p < 0.001). The median OS in patients with CRAFITY score 0, 1 and 2 was not reached, 14.3 months (95% CI 10.5-NA), and 11.6 months (95% CI 4.9-NA), respectively. The percentage of patients with grade ≥ 3 liver injury, any grade of decreased appetite, any grade of proteinuria, any grade of fever, and any grade of fatigue was lowest in patients with a CRAFITY score of 0, followed by patients with CRAFITY scores of 1 and 2.

Conclusions: The CRAFITY score is simple and could be useful for predicting therapeutic outcomes and treatment-related adverse events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-022-10358-zDOI Listing
June 2022

Does first-line treatment have prognostic impact for unresectable HCC?-Atezolizumab plus bevacizumab versus lenvatinib.

Cancer Med 2022 Jun 3. Epub 2022 Jun 3.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kagawa University, Kagawa, Japan.

Background/aim: A comparison of therapeutic efficacy between atezolizumab plus bevacizumab (Atez/Bev) and lenvatinib treatment given as first-line therapy for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (u-HCC) in regard to progression-free survival (PFS) overall survival (OS) has not been reported. We aimed to elucidate which of those given as initial treatment for u-HCC has greater prognostic impact on PFS and OS of affected patients, retrospectively.

Materials/methods: From 2020 to January 2022, 251 u-HCC (Child-Pugh A, ECOG PS 0/1, BCLC-B/C) treated were enrolled (Atez/Bev-group, n = 194; lenvatinib-group, n = 57). PFS and OS were analyzed following adjustment based on inverse probability weighting (IPW).

Results: There was a greater number of patients with macro-vascular invasion in Atez/Bev-group (22.7% vs. 8.8%, p = 0.022). In lenvatinib-group, the frequencies of appetite loss (38.6% vs. 19.6%, p = 0.002), hypothyroidism (21.1% vs. 6.7%, p = 0.004), hand foot skin reaction (19.3% vs. 1.0%, p < 0.001), and diarrhea (10.5% vs. 4.6%, p = 0.012) were greater, while that of general fatigue was lower (22.8% vs. 26.3%, p = 0.008). Comparisons of therapeutic best response using modified response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (mRECIST) did not show significant differences between the present groups (Atez/Bev vs. lenvatinib: CR/PR/SD/PD = 6.1%/39.1%/39.1%/15.6% vs. 0%/48.0%/38.0%/14.0%, p = 0.285). In patients of discontinuation of treatments, 48.2% switched to lenvatinib, 10.6% continued beyond PD, 8.2% received another systemic treatment, 5.9% underwent transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE), 3.5% received hepatic arterial infusion chemotherapy (HAIC), and 1.2% underwent surgical resection in Atez/Bev-group, while 42.2% switched to Atez/Bev, 4.4% continued beyond PD, 4.4% received another systemic treatment, 2.2% nivolumab, 6.7% received TACE, and 2.2% received HAIC in lenvatinib-group. Following adjustment with inverse probability weighting (IPW), Atez/Bev-group showed better PFS (0.5-/1-/1.5-years: 56.6%/31.6%/non-estimable vs. 48.6%/20.4%/11.2%, p < 0.0001) and OS rates (0.5-/1-/1.5-years: 89.6%/67.2%/58.1% vs. 77.8%/66.2%/52.7%, p = 0.002).

Conclusion: The present study showed that u-HCC patients who received Atez/Bev as a first-line treatment may have a better prognosis than those who received lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.4854DOI Listing
June 2022

International multicenter validation of GES score for HCC risk stratification in chronic hepatitis C patients.

J Viral Hepat 2022 Sep 24;29(9):807-816. Epub 2022 Jun 24.

Liver Unit, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañon, Madrid, Spain.

We have recently demonstrated the ability of a simple predictive model (GES) score to determine the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after using direct-acting antivirals. However, our results were restricted to Egyptian patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 4. Therefore, we studied a large, independent cohort of multiethnic populations through our international collaborative activity. Depending on their GES scores, patients are stratified into low risk (≤ 6/12.5), intermediate risk (> 6-7.5/12.5), and high risk (> 7.5/12.5) for HCC. A total of 12,038 patients with chronic HCV were analyzed in this study, of whom 11,202 were recruited from 54 centers in France, Japan, India, the U.S., and Spain, and the remaining 836 were selected from the Gilead-sponsored randomized controlled trial conducted across the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Australia. Descriptive statistics and log-rank tests. The performance of the GES score was evaluated using Harrell's C-index (HCI). The GES score proved successful at stratifying all patients into 3 risk groups, namely low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk. It also displayed significant predictive value for HCC development in all participants (p < .0001), with HCI ranging from 0.55 to 0.76 among all cohorts after adjusting for HCV genotypes and patient ethnicities. The GES score can be used to stratify HCV patients into 3 categories of risk for HCC, namely low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk, irrespective of their ethnicities or HCV genotypes. This international multicenter validation may allow the use of GES score in individualized HCC risk-based surveillance programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jvh.13717DOI Listing
September 2022

Poor Diagnostic Efficacy of Noninvasive Tests for Advanced Fibrosis in Obese or Younger Than 60 Diabetic NAFLD patients.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022 May 30. Epub 2022 May 30.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Serum-based noninvasive tests (NITs) have been widely used to assess liver fibrosis in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the diagnostic efficacy of NITs across ranges of age, body mass index (BMI), and presence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) may vary and have not been well-characterized.

Methods: We analyzed 1489 patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD from 6 centers in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Using histology as the gold standard, we compared the areas under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROCs) of Fibrosis-4 index (FIB-4), NAFLD fibrosis score (NFS), and the new Hepamet fibrosis score (HFS), with a focus on performance in subgroups as stratified by age, BMI, and the presence of T2DM.

Results: By histology, 44.0% of the overall cohort (655/1489) had F2-4, and 20.6% (307/1489) had F3-4 fibrosis. FIB-4 had the highest AUROCs for both F2-4 (0.701 vs NFS 0.676 and HFS 0.682, P = .001) and F3-4 (0.767 vs NFS 0.736 and HFS 0.752, P = .002). However, for F3-4 fibrosis, the AUROCs of all 3 NITs were generally higher in older (>60 years), nonobese (BMI <25 kg/m), and non-diabetic patients, although overall the best performance was observed with FIB-4 among nonobese (BMI<25) diabetic patients (AUROC, 0.92). The worst performance was observed in younger patients with T2DM for all NITs including FIB-4 (AUROC, 0.63-0.66).

Conclusions: FIB-4 had higher diagnostic efficacy for F3-4 than NFS or HFS, but this varied greatly by age, BMI, and T2DM, with better performance in older, nonobese, and nondiabetic patients. However, all NITs including FIB-4 had unacceptably poor performance in young or obese diabetic patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2022.05.015DOI Listing
May 2022

Therapeutic efficacy of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with Child-Pugh class A or B liver function in real-world clinical practice.

Hepatol Res 2022 May 28. Epub 2022 May 28.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.

Background/aim: Atezolizumab plus bevacizumab (Atez/Bev) treatment is recommended for unresechepatocellular carcinoma (u-HCC) patients classified as Child-Pugh A (CP-A). This study aimed to elucidate the prognosis of patients treated with Atez/Bev, especially CP-A and -B cases.

Materials/methods: From September 2020 to March 2022, 457 u-HCC patients treated with Atez/Bev were enrolled (median age 74 years, male:female = 368:89, CP-A:CP-B = 427:30, Child-Pugh score [CPS] 5:6:7:8:9 = 271:156:21:8:1). Therapeutic response was evaluated using RECIST ver.1.1. Clinical features and prognosis were retrospectively evaluated.

Results: There were no significant differences between CP-A and -B patients in regard to best response (CR:PR:SD:PD = 16:91:194:81 vs. 0:7:13:8, p = 0.739; objective response rate/disease control rate = 28.0%/78.8% vs. 25.0%/71.4%). Analysis performed using inverse probability weighting adjustments of clinical factors other than those related to hepatic reserve function with a p value < 0.10 for comparisons between patients with CP-A and -B showed that the progression-free survival (PFS) rate for CP-A cases was better (6-/12-/18-month: 58.2%/36.1%/27.8% vs. 49.6%/8.7%/non-estimable [NE], p < 0.001), as was overall survival (OS) rate (6-/12-/18-month: 89.9%/71.7%/51.4% versus 63.6%/18.4%/NE; p < 0.001). Median PFS (mPFS) and median OS (mOS) for the CPS-5 were 9.5 months/NE, and 5.1/14.0 months for the CPS-6 (both p < 0.001). Furthermore, for modified albumin-bilirubin grade (mALBI)-1/2a/2b, mPFS was 9.4/8.5/5.3 months (p < 0.001) and mOS was NE/17.8/13.4 months (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Better hepatic function, such as mALBI grade 1 or 2a are thought to indicate a better condition for obtaining sufficient prognosis with Atez/Bev treatment for u-HCC patients, whereas for CP-B patients, who mainly shown an mALBI grade of 2b or 3, Atez/Bev might have less therapeutic efficacy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hepr.13797DOI Listing
May 2022

Identification of CT Values That Could Be Predictive of Necrosis (N-CTav) in Hepatocellular Carcinoma after Lenvatinib Treatment.

Curr Oncol 2022 05 4;29(5):3259-3271. Epub 2022 May 4.

Center of Gastroenterology, Teine Keijinkai Hospital, Sapporo 006-8555, Japan.

Purpose: To assess the utility of measurement of the computed tomography (CT) attenuation value (CTav) in predicting tumor necrosis in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients who achieve a complete response (CR), defined using modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (mRECIST), after lenvatinib treatment.

Method: We compared CTav in arterial phase CT images with postoperative histopathology in four patients who underwent HCC resection after lenvatinib treatment, to determine CTav thresholds indicative of histological necrosis (N-CTav). Next, we confirmed the accuracy of the determined N-CTav in 15 cases with histopathologically proven necrosis in surgical specimens. Furthermore, the percentage of the tumor with N-CTav, i.e., the N-CTav occupancy rate, assessed using Image J software in 30 tumors in 12 patients with CR out of 571 HCC patients treated with lenvatinib, and its correlation with local recurrence following CR were examined.

Results: Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis revealed an optimal cut-off value of CTav of 30.2 HU, with 90.0% specificity and 65.0% sensitivity in discriminating between pathologically identified necrosis and degeneration, with a CTav of less than 30.2 HU indicating necrosis after lenvatinib treatment (N30-CTav). Furthermore, the optimal cut-off value of 30.6% for the N30-CTav occupancy rate by ROC analysis was a significant indicator of local recurrence following CR with 76.9% specificity and sensitivity (area under the ROC curve; 0.939), with the CR group with high N30-CTav occupancy (≥30.6%) after lenvatinib treatment showing significantly lower local recurrence (8.3% at 1 year) compared with the low (<30.6%) N30-CTav group ( < 0.001, 61.5% at 1 year).

Conclusion: The cut-off value of 30.2 HU for CTav (N30-CTav) might be appropriate for identifying post-lenvatinib necrosis in HCC, and an N30-CTav occupancy rate of >30.6% might be a predictor of maintenance of CR. Use of these indicators have the potential to impact systemic chemotherapy for HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29050266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9139739PMC
May 2022

C-reactive protein to albumin ratio predicts survival in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma treated with lenvatinib.

Sci Rep 2022 05 19;12(1):8421. Epub 2022 May 19.

Department of Gastroenterology, Saiseikai Niigata Hospital, Niigata, Japan.

We investigated the impact of C-reactive protein to albumin ratio (CAR) on predicting outcomes in 522 patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with lenvatinib. We determined the optimal CAR cutoff value with time-dependent receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Additionally, we clarified the relationship between CAR and liver function or HCC progression. Median overall survival was 20.0 (95% confidence interval (CI), 17.2-22.6) months. The optimal CAR cutoff value was determined to be 0.108. Multivariate analysis showed that high CAR (≥ 0.108) (hazard ratio (HR), 1.915; 95% CI, 1.495-2.452), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status ≥ 1 (HR, 1.429), and α-fetoprotein ≥ 400 ng/mL (HR, 1.604) were independently associated with overall survival. Cumulative overall survival differed significantly between patients with low versus high CAR (p < 0.001). Median progression-free survival was 7.5 (95% CI, 6.7-8.1) months. Multivariate analysis showed that age, CAR ≥ 0.108 (HR, 1.644; 95% CI, 1.324-2.043), and non-hepatitis B, non-hepatitis C etiology (HR, 0.726) were independently associated with progression-free survival. Cumulative progression-free survival differed significantly between patients with low versus high CAR (p < 0.001). CAR values were significantly higher as Japan Integrated Staging score increased (p < 0.001). In conclusion, CAR can predict outcomes in patients with unresectable HCC treated with lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-12058-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9120140PMC
May 2022

Gadoxetic acid-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging predicts hyperbilirubinemia induced by glecaprevir during hepatitis C virus treatment.

Sci Rep 2022 05 12;12(1):7847. Epub 2022 May 12.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Juntendo University, 3-1-3 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8421, Japan.

Glecaprevir is a substrate for organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP) 1B1/1B3, which transports bilirubin. Hyperbilirubinemia is an adverse event during anti-hepatitis C virus treatment with glecaprevir and pibrentasvir. Gadoxetic acid is also transported by OATP1B1/1B3, and we aimed to evaluate whether gadoxetic acid-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was associated with glecaprevir trough concentrations (C). We further determined whether this was predictive of hyperbilirubinemia development in a cohort of 33 patients. The contrast enhancement index (CEI), a measure of hepatic enhancement effect on the hepatobiliary image, was assessed. Glecaprevir C was determined 7 days after administration. Five of the 33 patients (15%) developed Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade ≥ 2 hyperbilirubinemia. We found a negative relationship between CEI and C (r = - 0.726, p < 0.001). The partial correlation coefficient between CEI and C was - 0.654 (p < 0.001), while excluding the effects of albumin, FIB-4 index, and indirect bilirubin at baseline. The C was significantly higher in patients with hyperbilirubinemia than in those without (p = 0.008). In multivariate analysis, CEI ≤ 1.71 was an independent factor influencing the development of hyperbilirubinemia (p = 0.046). Our findings indicate that gadoxetic acid MR imaging can help predict glecaprevir concentration and development of hyperbilirubinemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-11707-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9098462PMC
May 2022

Misunderstanding of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection status by non-specialized medical doctors in patients who achieved sustained virologic response to anti-HCV therapy.

J Infect Chemother 2022 Sep 6;28(9):1231-1234. Epub 2022 May 6.

Department of Epidemiology, Infectious Disease Control, and Prevention, Hiroshima University Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima, Japan.

Introduction: With the increase in the number of patients with sustained virologic response (SVR) in whom hepatitis C virus (HCV) was eradicated by the anti-HCV therapy, there are now many individuals in whom serum HCV RNA is absent despite positive serum HCV antibodies. However, in general clinical practice, HCV infection remains usually screened by measurement of serum HCV antibodies and patients with SVR can be misunderstood regarding HCV infection status.

Methods: In the multicenter study, we conducted interviews with administered questionnaires to SVR individuals who had regular hospital visits after SVR. The prevalence of experiencing an incorrect diagnosis of HCV infection after SVR was assessed. Individuals who experienced this misunderstanding were further asked where they experienced it and how it made them feel.

Results: In a survey of 2,246 SVR individuals, 197 individuals (8.8%) were misunderstood as having persistent HCV infection by medical doctors due to positive HCV antibody, despite the absence of HCV viremia. These misunderstandings occurred most prevalently at a private clinic (55.3%). More than half (53.3%) of these individuals felt anxious about their HCV infection with becoming unsure about their HCV eradication status.

Conclusions: Misunderstanding HCV status is commonly occurred in SVR individuals. Specialists in hepatology and infectious diseases should broadly emphasize the fact that most patients with HCV antibodies are now HCV-free because of the use of anti-HCV therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jiac.2022.04.024DOI Listing
September 2022

Shorter pruritus period and milder disease stage are associated with response to nalfurafine hydrochloride in patients with chronic liver disease.

Sci Rep 2022 05 4;12(1):7311. Epub 2022 May 4.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, 1-1-5, Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8603, Japan.

Nalfurafine hydrochloride, a selective κ-opioid receptor agonist has been approved for pruritus in patients with chronic liver disease. However, not all patients respond to nalfurafine hydrochloride. The aim of this study was to clarify the efficacy of nalfurafine hydrochloride. The subjects were patients with chronic liver disease complicated by pruritus who were treated with nalfurafine hydrochloride between May, 2015, and May, 2021. The degree of pruritus was evaluated based on the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score and the Kawashima's pruritus score. Nalfurafine hydrochloride 2.5 μg was orally administered once a day for 12 weeks. A decrease in the VAS score of ≥ 25 mm or the Kawashima's pruritus score of ≥ 1 scores was designated as relevant response. The former of ≥ 50 mm or the latter of ≥ 2 scores as remarkable response. The 326 patients who were evaluated the efficacy at 12 weeks. The median time suffering from pruritus to administration of nalfurafine hydrochloride was 4 months. The median VAS score improved from 70.0 mm before administration to 40.0 and 30.0 mm at 4 and 12 weeks of treatment, respectively. On multivariate analysis, shorter itching period and lower FIB-4 index value were extracted as the independent factors related to remarkable responder. On multivariate analysis, shorter itching period was extracted as the only independent factor related to relevant responder. In conclusion, this study suggested nalfurafine hydrochloride treatment markedly improves pruritus in patients with chronic liver disease. A short pruritus period and less-advanced fibrosis were associated with response to nalfurafine hydrochloride.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-11431-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9068920PMC
May 2022

Safety and efficacy of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab in elderly patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: A multicenter analysis.

Cancer Med 2022 Apr 19. Epub 2022 Apr 19.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.

Aim: The safety and efficacy of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab (Atez/Bev) in elderly patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have not been sufficiently investigated.

Methods: A total of 317 patients with HCC treated with Atez/Bev were studied. We compared the survival and frequency of adverse events in elderly versus non-elderly patients with HCC who were treated with Atez/Bev using an analysis of inverse probability weighting (IPW).

Results: Univariate analysis adjusted with IPW showed that being elderly is not associated with worse overall or progression-free survival (hazard ratio [HR], 1.239; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.640-2.399; p = 0.526 and HR, 1.256; 95% CI, 0.871-1.811; p = 0.223, respectively). Regarding treatment-related adverse events, any grade of fatigue, proteinuria, decreased appetite, hypertension, and liver injury occurred in ≥10% of patients. There were no significant differences in treatment-related adverse events between the elderly and non-elderly groups. In a subgroup analysis of elderly patients aged 75-79, 80-84, or ≥ 85 years, there were no significant differences in cumulative overall or progression-free survival among these age groups (p = 0.960 and 0.566, respectively). In addition, there were no significant differences in treatment-related adverse events among these three age groups, except for proteinuria of any grade. In a subgroup analysis of patients treated with Atez/Bev as first-line systemic therapy, there were no significant differences in cumulative overall or progression-free survival between the elderly and non-elderly groups (p = 0.728 and 0.805, respectively).

Conclusions: Atez/Bev can be used efficaciously and safely in spite of age in patients with unresectable HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.4763DOI Listing
April 2022

The best predictive model for post-SVR HCC: can it be universal?

Hepatol Int 2022 06 8;16(3):728. Epub 2022 Apr 8.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-022-10336-5DOI Listing
June 2022

Mac-2-binding protein glycan isomer predicts all malignancies after sustained virological response in chronic hepatitis C.

Hepatol Commun 2022 Aug 28;6(8):1855-1869. Epub 2022 Mar 28.

Core Research Facilities, Research Center for Medical Science, The Jikei University School of Medicine, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan.

Despite reports of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection after achieving sustained virological response (SVR), only few studies have demonstrated the incidence of other (non-HCC) malignancies. This study aimed to clarify the incidence, survival probability, and factors associated with malignancy, especially non-HCC malignancies, in patients with chronic HCV infection after achieving SVR. In this retrospective study, records of 3580 patients with chronic HCV infection who achieved SVR following direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment were analyzed. The cumulative post-SVR incidence of non-HCC malignancies was 0.9%, 3.1%, and 6.8% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively. The survival probability for patients with non-HCC malignancies was 99.1%, 78.8%, and 60.2% at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively, and the rate was significantly lower than that for patients with HCC. The Cox proportional hazards regression model identified Mac-2-binding protein glycan isomer (M2BPGi) cutoff index (COI) ≥ 1.90 at baseline and ≥ 1.50 at 12 weeks following DAA treatment as significant and independent factors associated with the post-SVR incidence of non-HCC malignancies. Furthermore, patients with either M2BPGi COI ≥ 1.90 at baseline or M2BPGi COI ≥ 1.50 at SVR12 had a significantly higher risk of post-SVR incidence of non-HCC malignancies than of HCC. Conclusion: M2BPGi measurements at baseline and SVR12 may help predict the post-SVR incidence of non-HCC malignancies in patients with chronic HCV infection who achieved SVR following DAA treatment. Early identification of these patients is critical to prolong patient survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep4.1941DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9315127PMC
August 2022

Type III procollagen peptide level can indicate liver dysfunction associated with volume overload in acute heart failure.

ESC Heart Fail 2022 06 14;9(3):1832-1843. Epub 2022 Mar 14.

Division of Intensive Care Unit, Nippon Medical School Chiba Hokusoh Hospital, 1715 Kamagari, Inzai, Chiba, 270-1694, Japan.

Aim: The role of serum type III procollagen peptide (P3P) level in the acute phase of acute heart failure (AHF) requires clarification. We hypothesized that serum P3P level is temporarily higher during the acute phase, reflecting liver dysfunction due to congestion.

Methods And Results: A total of 800 AHF patients were screened, and data from 643 patients were analysed. Heart failure was diagnosed by the treating physician according to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines, and included patients being treated with high-concentration oxygen inhalation (including mechanical support) for orthopnea, inotrope administration, or mechanical support for low blood pressure, and various types of diuretics for peripheral or pulmonary oedema. In all cases, diuretics or vasodilators were administered to treat AHF. The patients were divided into three groups according to their quartile (Q) serum P3P level: low-P3P (Q1, P3P ≤ 0.6 U/mL), mid-P3P (Q2/Q3, 0.6 < P3P <1.2 U/mL), and high-P3P (Q4, P3P ≥ 1.2 U/mL). The plasma volume status (PVS) was calculated using the following formula: ([actual PV - ideal PV]/ideal PV) × 100 (%). The primary endpoint was 365 day mortality. A Kaplan-Meier curve analysis showed that prognoses, including all-cause mortality and heart failure events within 365 days, were significantly (P < 0.001) worse in the high-P3P group when compared with the mid-P3P and low-P3P groups. A multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that high PVS (Q4, odds ratio [OR]: 4.702, 95% CI: 2.012-20.989, P < 0.001), high fibrosis-4 index (Q4, OR: 2.627, 95% CI: 1.311-5.261, P = 0.006), and low estimated glomerular filtration rate per 10 mL/min/1.73 m decrease (OR: 1.996, 95% CI: 1.718-2.326, P < 0.001) were associated with high P3P values. The Kaplan-Meier curve analysis demonstrated a significantly lower survival rate, as well as a higher rate of heart failure events, in the high-P3P and high-PVS groups when compared with the other groups. A multivariate Cox regression model identified high P3P level and high PVS as an independent predictor of 365 day all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.249; 95% CI: 1.081-3.356; P = 0.026) and heart failure events (HR: 1.586, 95% CI: 1.005-2.503, P = 0.048).

Conclusion: A high P3P level during the acute phase of AHF served as a comprehensive biomarker of liver dysfunction with volume overload (i.e. liver congestion) and renal dysfunction. A high P3P level at admission may be able to predict adverse outcomes in AHF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.13878DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9065836PMC
June 2022

Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio predicts early outcomes in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma treated with atezolizumab plus bevacizumab: a multicenter analysis.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022 06 14;34(6):698-706. Epub 2022 Feb 14.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo.

Objective: To investigate whether neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) can predict outcomes in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with atezolizumab plus bevacizumab (Atez/Bev).

Methods: A total of 249 patients with unresectable HCC treated with Atez/Bev were included. We analyzed survival and discontinuation of this therapy in this cohort.

Results: Cumulative overall survival at 2, 4, 6, and 8 months was 97.6%, 94.9%, 88.9%, and 82.8%, respectively. Cumulative overall survival differed significantly between patients with low (<3.0) versus high (≥3.0) NLR (P = 0.001). Conversely, cumulative progression-free survival did not differ between patients with low versus high NLR. The distribution of response was 1.5% for complete response, 17.1% for partial response, 60.5% for stable disease, and 21.0% for progressive disease. Responses were not different between patients with low and high NLR. Regarding adverse events, immune-related liver injury of any grade and grade of at least 3, decreased appetite of any grade, grade of at least 3 proteinuria, and other adverse events of any grade differed significantly between patients with low and high NLR. There were 56, 18, and 2 patients who discontinued Atez/Bev therapy due to progression of disease, adverse event, and other reasons, respectively. The cumulative discontinuation rate for Atez/Bev therapy due to adverse events differed significantly between patients with low versus high NLR (P = 0.022). Cox proportional hazards modeling analysis with inverse probability weighting showed that NLR of at least 3.0 was significantly associated with overall survival (hazard ratio, 3.369; 95% confidence interval, 1.024-11.080).

Conclusions: NLR can predict outcomes in patients with unresectable HCC treated with Atez/Bev.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MEG.0000000000002356DOI Listing
June 2022

Serum miR-192-5p levels predict the efficacy of pegylated interferon therapy for chronic hepatitis B.

PLoS One 2022 14;17(2):e0263844. Epub 2022 Feb 14.

Departments of Virology & Liver Unit, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.

We examined the association between serum miRNA (-192-5p, -122-3p, -320a and -6126-5p) levels and the efficacy of pegylated interferon (Peg-IFN) monotherapy for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients. We enrolled 61 CHB patients treated with Peg-IFNα-2a weekly for 48 weeks, of whom 12 had a virological response (VR) and 49 did not VR (non-VR). A VR was defined as HBV DNA < 2,000 IU/ml, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative, and nucleos(t)ide analogue free at 48 weeks after the end of treatment. The non-VR group showed a significantly higher HBeAg-positivity rate, ALT, HBV DNA, and serum miR-192-5p levels at baseline (P = 0.024, P = 0.020, P = 0.007, P = 0.021, respectively). Serum miR-192-5p levels at 24-weeks after the start of treatment were also significantly higher in the non-VR than the VR group (P = 0.011). Multivariate logistic regression analysis for predicting VR showed that miR-192-5p level at baseline was an independent factor (Odds 4.5, P = 0.041). Serum miR-192-5p levels were significantly correlated with the levels of HBV DNA, hepatitis B core-related antigen, and hepatitis B surface antigen (r = 0.484, 0.384 and 0.759, respectively). The serum miR-192-5p level was useful as a biomarker for the therapeutic efficacy of Peg-IFN in CHB treatment.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0263844PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8843190PMC
February 2022

Association of early bevacizumab interruption with efficacy of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: A landmark analysis.

Hepatol Res 2022 May 9;52(5):462-470. Epub 2022 Feb 9.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.

Aim: The present study focused on the association of early bevacizumab (Bev) interruption with the clinical outcome of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab.

Methods: This retrospective study included 239 patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma receiving atezolizumab/Bev from September 2020 to June 2021 at 16 different institutions in Japan. We conducted a 9-week landmark analysis to investigate the association of Bev interruption due to adverse events with the therapeutic efficacy.

Results: The median age was 73.0 (68.0-80.0) years old, with 195 (81.6%) men. The objective response rate was significantly higher in patients without Bev interruption than in those with it (34.5% vs. 17.3%, p = 0.038). The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 6.5 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.5-9.7) and 9.0 months (95% CI 7.1-not applicable) in patients with and without Bev interruption, respectively, with statistical significance (p = 0.021). The 12-month overall survival (OS) rates in patients with and without Bev interruption were 49.4% (CI 27.7%-67.9%) and 82.2% (95% CI 70.3%-89.6%), respectively, showing a significant difference (p = 0.004). The presence of Bev interruption was a significant factor associated with the PFS (p = 0.021) and OS (p = 0.008). A multivariate analysis showed that modified albumin-bilirubin 2b (p < 0.001) and later-line treatment (p = 0.018) were unfavorable factors associated with Bev interruption. Liver injury, appetite loss, protein urea, and ascites or hepatic edema were more frequently found in patients with Bev interruption than in those without it.

Conclusions: Early Bev interruption was an unfavorable factor associated with the PFS and OS. Good liver function and treatment settings may be associated with maintaining Bev treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hepr.13748DOI Listing
May 2022

Lusutrombopag has slightly stronger effects on patients with mild thrombocytopenia compared with those with severe thrombocytopenia: A multicenter propensity score matching study.

J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Sci 2022 Apr 8;29(4):439-448. Epub 2022 Jan 8.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.

Background: Lusutrombopag effectively increases platelet count in patients with severe thrombocytopenia. However, no multicenter studies analyzing the effects of Lusutrombopag on patients with mild thrombocytopenia (platelet count > 50 000/µL) have been performed. In this study, we aimed to clarify the efficacy of Lusutrombopag on these patients by unifying background factors by propensity score matching.

Methods: A total of 139 patients with thrombocytopenia were enrolled, and matched for age, sex, etiology, disease, treatment, liver function, renal function, peripheral blood count, and spleen index. The primary endpoint was to compare the increase in platelet count from baseline between the high-platelet group (>50 000/µL) and the low-platelet group (<50 000/µL) after Lusutrombopag treatment, using propensity score matching. The secondary endpoint was to clarify platelet transfusion avoidance rate and adverse events, moreover, to identify independent predictors associated with the increase in platelet count.

Results: The mean increase in platelet count was 67 000/μL vs 48 000/μL in all patients (high- vs low-platelet group, P = .024), and 64 000/μL vs 48 000/μL (P = .12) after propensity score matching. The increase in platelet count and the platelet transfusion avoidance rate tended to be higher in the high-platelet group. There was no significant difference between adverse events. Predictors associated with an increase in platelet count were sex, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and spleen index by multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: Lusutrombopag has a little stronger effect in patients with mild thrombocytopenia than those with severe thrombocytopenia and showed a more substantial effect in patients with impaired renal function and small spleen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jhbp.1099DOI Listing
April 2022

Switching from entecavir to tenofovir disoproxil fumarate for HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B patients: a phase 4, prospective study.

BMC Gastroenterol 2021 Dec 20;21(1):489. Epub 2021 Dec 20.

Toranomon Hospital, 2-2-2, Toranomon, Minato-ku, 105-8470, Japan.

Background: Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) is widely used and recommended as first-line treatment for patients infected with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). However, current data are limited regarding the efficacy and safety of switching to TDF for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B in hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg)-positive patients who are virologically suppressed with another nucleos(t)ide analogue. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) reduction potential of switching from entecavir (ETV) to TDF at week 48 in HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B patients with undetectable serum HBV-DNA.

Methods: In this multicenter, single-arm, open-label, phase 4 clinical study, 75 participants currently treated with ETV 0.5 mg once daily were switched to TDF 300 mg once daily for 96 weeks.

Results: At week 48, 3/74 participants (4%) achieved 0.25 log reduction of HBsAg levels from baseline (the primary endpoint). Mean HBsAg reduction was -0.14 log IU/mL and 12% (9/74) achieved 0.25 log reduction by 96 weeks. No participants achieved HBsAg seroclearance. HBsAg reduction at weeks 48 and 96 was numerically greater in participants with higher alanine aminotransferase levels (≥ 60 U/L). Seventeen participants (25%) achieved HBeAg seroclearance up to week 96. No participants experienced viral breakthrough. All drug-related adverse events (18 participants [24%]) were mild in intensity, including an increase in urine beta-2-microglobulin (15 participants [20%]).

Conclusions: In conclusion, HBsAg reduction was limited after switching from ETV to TDF in this study population. Further investigation is warranted to better understand the clinical impact of switching from ETV to TDF. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03258710 registered August 21, 2017. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03258710?term=NCT03258710&draw=2&rank=1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12876-021-02008-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8686386PMC
December 2021

Time-course changes in liver functional reserve after successful sofosbuvir/velpatasvir treatment in patients with decompensated cirrhosis.

Hepatol Res 2022 Mar 17;52(3):235-246. Epub 2021 Dec 17.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, Ube, Japan.

Aim: Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) are currently available even for patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Reportedly, hepatic functional reserve improved in the short term after achievement of sustained virologic response (SVR). We aimed to clarify the outcomes after achievement of SVR in patients with decompensated cirrhosis who were treated by DAAs in real-world clinical practice.

Methods: A prospective, multicenter study of 12-week sofosbuvir/velpatasvir was conducted in 86 patients with decompensated cirrhosis, who were evaluated for 48 weeks post-treatment.

Results: The cohort included 8 patients with Child-Pugh class A, 56 with B, and 22 with C. The proportion of Child-Pugh class A patients increased from 9.1% at baseline to 44.1% at 48 weeks post-treatment, while that of class B and C patients decreased from 66.2% to 35.1% and from 24.7% to 14.3%, respectively. Among the patients with Child-Pugh class B and C, univariate analysis identified low total bilirubin, Child-Pugh score, Child-Pugh class B, ALBI score, and high serum albumin as factors associated with improvement to Child-Pugh class A. The optimal cut-off value of the factors for predicting improvement to Child-Pugh class A were 1.4 mg/dl for total bilirubin, 2.9 g/dl for serum albumin, 8 points for Child-Pugh score, and -1.88 for ALBI score.

Conclusion: Achievement of SVR with sofosbuvir/velpatasvir improved the liver functional reserve at 12 weeks post-treatment and maintained the stable effects until 48 weeks post-treatment in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Specifically, the patients with less advanced conditions had the likelihood of improving to Child-Pugh class A at 48 weeks post-treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hepr.13739DOI Listing
March 2022

The risk of cirrhosis and its complications based on PNPLA3 rs738409 G allele frequency.

Dig Dis 2021 Nov 22. Epub 2021 Nov 22.

Background: Data regarding the influence of patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) polymorphism for patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) are scarce.

Objective: This study assesses the role of the PNPLA3 polymorphism for the development of LC and its complications by the findings of genetic examinations.

Methods: Patients with LC caused by virus (n = 157), alcohol (n = 104), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (n = 106), or autoimmune disease (n = 33) and without LC (n = 128) were enrolled. LC were composed of the present and absent of complications, such as variceal bleeding, hepatic ascites, and/or hepatic encephalopathy. To assess the role of the PNPLA3 polymorphism, odds ratio (OR) for the rs738409 variant was calculated for the patients between (i) with LC and without LC in the entire cohort, and (ii) the present and absent of complications in the patients with LC.

Results: There was a significant difference among the patients without LC and those with alcohol, NAFLD related LC in the frequency of G alleles (p < 0.001, both). According to complications of LC, the OR for NAFLD related cirrhosis significantly increased in the presence of the two mutated alleles (OR = 3.165; p = 0.046) when the wild type was used as the reference. However, there were no significant risks for the complications in the virus and alcohol related cirrhosis unless there was a presence of G alleles.

Conclusion: The PNPLA3 polymorphism was associated with the risk of NAFLD related LC and its complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000521062DOI Listing
November 2021

Early experience of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma BCLC-B stage patients classified as beyond up to seven criteria - Multicenter analysis.

Hepatol Res 2022 Mar 2;52(3):308-316. Epub 2021 Dec 2.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.

Background/aim: Although systemic therapy is recommended for patients with multiple intermediate stage unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (u-HCC) classified as beyond the up-to-7 criteria (UT-7 out/multiple) as a transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) unsuitable condition, few reports have examined the therapeutic efficacy of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab combination therapy (Atez/Bev) in such cases. This study aimed to elucidate the therapeutic response of Atez/Bev in u-HCC patients classified as UT-7 out/multiple.

Material/methods: From September 2020 to September 2021, 95 u-HCC Japanese patients classified as UT-7 out/multiple/Child-Pugh A were enrolled from 21 institutions (median age 76 years, males 73, Child-Pugh 5:6 = 68:27, TNM stage II:III = 17:78). Therapeutic response was retrospectively evaluated using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST), ver. 1.1 and modified RECIST (mRECIST).

Results: Atez/Bev was given as first-line treatment to 52 (54.7%). Objective response rate (ORR)/disease control rate (DCR) at six weeks of RECIST and mRECIST were 17.7%/84.7% and 42.5%/86.2%, respectively. Median PFS was 8.0 months (median observation period: 6.0 months). Child-Pugh A/modified Albumin-bilirubin grade (mALBI) 1 and 2a at baseline, 3, 6, and 9 weeks, were 100%/69.4%, 89.8%/57.3%, 94.8%/65.3%, and 91.4%/60.0%, respectively. Among adverse events (any-grade, >10%) during the present observation period, general fatigue was most frequent (23.2%), followed by urine protein (21.1%), appetite loss (20.0%), and hypertension (13.7%).

Conclusion: Atez/Bev treatment showed favorable therapeutic response with less influence on hepatic function, suggesting it as a useful therapeutic option for patients with such condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hepr.13734DOI Listing
March 2022

Posttreatment after Lenvatinib in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Liver Cancer 2021 Sep 20;10(5):473-484. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Gastroenterology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Background: There is no standard posttreatment for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in whom lenvatinib therapy has failed. This study aimed to investigate rates of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib and to explore candidates for second-line agents in the patients with failed lenvatinib therapy.

Methods: We retrospectively collected data on patients with advanced HCC who received lenvatinib as the first-line agent in 7 institutions.

Results: Overall survival and progression-free survival (PFS) of 178 patients who received lenvatinib as the first-line agent were 13.3 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.5-15.2) and 6.7 months (95% CI, 5.6-7.8), respectively. Sixty-nine of 151 patients (45.7%) who discontinued lenvatinib moved on to posttreatment. The migration rates from lenvatinib to the second-line agent and from the second-line agent to the third-line agent were 41.7 and 44.4%, respectively. Based on multivariate analysis, response to lenvatinib (complete or partial response according to modified RECIST) and discontinuation of lenvatinib due to radiological progression, as well as male were associated with a significantly higher probability of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib. On the other hand, alpha-fetoprotein levels of 400 ng/mL or higher was correlated with a significantly lower probability of migration to posttreatment after lenvatinib. Of 63 patients who received second-line systemic therapy, 53 (84.2%) were administered sorafenib. PFS, objective response rate (ORR), and disease control rate (DCR) for sorafenib treatment were 1.8 months (95% CI, 0.6-3.0), 1.8%, and 20.8%, respectively. According to the Cox regression hazard model, Child-Pugh class B significantly contributed to shorter PFS. PFS, ORR, and DCR of 22 patients who received regorafenib after lenvatinib in any lines were 3.2 months (range, 1.5-4.9 months), 13.6%, and 36.3%, respectively. Similarly, PFS, ORR, and DCR of 17 patients who received regorafenib after lenvatinib in the third-line (after sorafenib) were 3.8 months (range, 1.1-6.5 months), 17.6%, and 41.2%, respectively.

Conclusion: Sorafenib may not be a candidate for use as a posttreatment agent after lenvatinib, according to the results of the present study. Regorafenib has the potential to become an appropriate posttreatment agent after lenvatinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000515552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8527907PMC
September 2021

A novel noninvasive formula for predicting cirrhosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C.

PLoS One 2021 10;16(9):e0257166. Epub 2021 Sep 10.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.

Evaluating liver fibrosis is crucial for disease severity assessment, treatment decisions, and hepatocarcinogenic risk prediction among patients with chronic hepatitis C. In this retrospective multicenter study, we aimed to construct a novel model formula to predict cirrhosis. A total of 749 patients were randomly allocated to training and validation sets at a ratio of 2:1. Liver stiffness measurement (LSM) was made via transient elastography using FibroScan. Patients with LSM ≥12.5 kPa were regarded as having cirrhosis. The best model formula for predicting cirrhosis was constructed based on factors significantly and independently associated with LSM (≥12.5 kPa) using multivariate regression analysis. Among the 749 patients, 198 (26.4%) had LSM ≥12.5 kPa. In the training set, multivariate analysis identified logarithm natural (ln) type IV collagen 7S, ln hyaluronic acid, and ln Wisteria floribunda agglutinin positive Mac-2-binding protein (WFA+-Mac-2 BP) as the factors that were significantly and independently associated with LSM ≥12.5 kPa. Thus, the formula was constructed as follows: score = -6.154 + 1.166 × ln type IV collagen 7S + 0.526 × ln hyaluronic acid + 1.069 × WFA+-Mac-2 BP. The novel formula yielded the highest area under the curve (0.882; optimal cutoff, -0.381), specificity (81.5%), positive predictive values (62.6%), and predictive accuracy (81.6%) for predicting LSM ≥12.5 kPa among fibrosis markers and indices. These results were almost similar to those in the validated set, indicating the reproducibility and validity of the novel formula. The novel formula scores were significantly, strongly, and positively correlated with LSM values in both the training and validation data sets (correlation coefficient, 0.721 and 0.762; p = 2.67 × 10-81 and 1.88 × 10-48, respectively). In conclusion, the novel formula was highly capable of diagnosing cirrhosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C and exhibited better diagnostic performance compared to conventional fibrosis markers and indices.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0257166PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8432856PMC
November 2021

Efficacy of lenvatinib for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma based on background liver disease etiology: multi-center retrospective study.

Sci Rep 2021 08 17;11(1):16663. Epub 2021 Aug 17.

Department of Gastroenterology and Metabology, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Ehime, Japan.

It was recently reported that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are not responsive to immune-checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment. The present study aimed to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of lenvatinib in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)/NASH-related unresectable-HCC (u-HCC). Five hundred thirty u-HCC patients with Child-Pugh A were enrolled, and divided into the NAFLD/NASH (n = 103) and Viral/Alcohol (n = 427) groups. Clinical features were compared in a retrospective manner. Progression-free survival (PFS) was better in the NAFLD/NASH than the Viral/Alcohol group (median 9.3 vs. 7.5 months, P = 0.012), while there was no significant difference in overall survival (OS) (20.5 vs. 16.9 months, P = 0.057). In Cox-hazard analysis of prognostic factors for PFS, elevated ALT (≥ 30 U/L) (HR 1.247, P = 0.029), modified ALBI grade 2b (HR 1.236, P = 0.047), elevated AFP (≥ 400 ng/mL) (HR 1.294, P = 0.014), and NAFLD/NASH etiology (HR 0.763, P = 0.036) were significant prognostic factors. NAFLD/NASH etiology was not a significant prognostic factor in Cox-hazard analysis for OS (HR0.758, P = 0.092), whereas AFP (≥ 400 ng/mL) (HR 1.402, P = 0.009), BCLC C stage (HR 1.297, P = 0.035), later line use (HR 0.737, P = 0.014), and modified ALBI grade 2b (HR 1.875, P < 0.001) were significant. Lenvatinib can improve the prognosis of patients affected by u-HCC irrespective of HCC etiology or its line of treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-96089-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8370989PMC
August 2021

Liver fibrosis is associated with carotid atherosclerosis in patients with liver biopsy-proven nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Sci Rep 2021 08 5;11(1):15938. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Nippon Medical School, 1-1-5, Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8603, Japan.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is related to subclinical atherosclerosis. However, whether the severity of the disease (or which histopathological component) is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis remains controversial. This study aimed to investigate the association between the histopathological severity of NAFLD and carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) in Japanese patients with liver biopsy-proven NAFLD. Maximum-CIMT (max-CIMT) was measured as an index of carotid atherosclerosis in 195 biopsy-proven NAFLD patients. A significant association was observed between the severity of fibrosis (but not steatosis, inflammation, and ballooning) and max-CIMT. Older age, male gender, hypertension, and advanced fibrosis were independently linked to max-CIMT ≥ 1.2 mm. The prevalence of max-CIMT ≥ 1.2 mm was significantly higher in the advanced fibrosis group than in the non-advanced fibrosis group (75.4% versus 44.0%; p < 0.01). Non-invasive liver fibrosis markers and scoring systems, including fibrosis-4 index, NAFLD fibrosis score, hyaluronic acid, and Wisteria floribunda agglutinin positive Mac-2-binding protein, demonstrated that the diagnostic performance for max-CIMT ≥ 1.2 mm was similar to that of biopsy-based fibrosis staging. In conclusion, advanced fibrosis is significantly and independently associated with high-risk CIMT. Non-invasive fibrosis markers and scoring systems could help estimate the risk of atherosclerosis progression in patients with NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95581-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8342487PMC
August 2021

Characteristics and Prognosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma After Sustained Virologic Response.

Hepatol Commun 2021 Jul 5;5(7):1290-1299. Epub 2021 May 5.

Department of Epidemiology Infectious Disease Control, and Prevention Hiroshima University Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences Hiroshima Japan.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can develop in patients with chronic hepatitis C even after the achievement of sustained virologic response (SVR). We characterized HCC after SVR, comparing it with HCC that developed in patients during persistent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Characteristics, survival rates, and recurrence rates after curative treatment in 178 patients who developed initial HCC after SVR diagnosed between 2014 and 2020 were compared with those of 127 patients with initial HCC that developed during persistent HCV infection diagnosed between 2011 and 2015; HCC was detected under surveillance in both groups. HCC was less advanced and liver function worsened less in patients with SVR than in patients with persistent HCV. The survival rate after diagnosis was significantly higher for patients with SVR than for patients with persistent HCV (1-, 3-, and 5-year survival rates, 98.2%, 92.5%, and 86.8% versus 89.5%, 74.7%, and 60.8%, respectively;  < 0.001). By contrast, the recurrence rate after curative treatment was similar between groups (1-, 3-, and 5-year recurrence rates, 11.6%, 54.6%, and 60.4% versus 24.0%, 46.7%, and 50.4%, respectively;  = 0.7484). Liver function improved between initial HCC diagnosis and recurrence in patients with SVR ( = 0.0191), whereas it worsened in the control group ( < 0.001). In addition, patients with SVR could receive curative treatment for recurrence more frequently than patients with persistent HCV (80.4% versus 47.8%, respectively;  = 0.0008). Survival of patients with HCC after SVR was significantly higher than that of patients in whom HCC developed during persistent HCV infection, despite similar rates of recurrence after curative treatment. A higher prevalence of curative treatment for recurrent HCC and improved liver function contributed to this result.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep4.1716DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8279467PMC
July 2021

Clinical Significance of the Fibrosis-4 Index in Patients with Acute Heart Failure Requiring Intensive Care.

Int Heart J 2021 Jul 17;62(4):858-865. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Nippon Medical School.

The Fibrosis-4 (FIB4) index could indicate the liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatic diseases. It was calculated using the following formula: (age × aspartate aminotransferase [U/L]) / (platelet count [10/μL] × √alanine aminotransferase [U/L]). However, the clinical impact of the FIB4 index in the acute phase of acute heart failure (AHF) has not been sufficiently investigated.A total 1,468 AHF patients were analyzed. The median FIB4 index was 2.71 [1.85-4.22]. The patients were divided into three groups according to the quartiles of their FIB4 index (low-FIB4 [Q1, ≤ 1.847], middle-FIB4 [Q2/Q3, 1.848-4.216], and high-FIB4 [Q4, ≥ 4.216] groups). A Kaplan-Meier curve analysis showed that the prognosis, such as all-cause mortality and HF events within 365 days, was significantly poorer in the high-FIB4 group than in the middle-FIB4 and low-FIB4 groups. A multivariate Cox regression model identified high FIB4 index as an independent predictor of 365-day all-cause death (hazard ratio (HR): 1.660, 95% CI: 1.136-2.427) and HF events (HR: 1.505, 95% CI: 1.145-1.978). The multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the high plasma volume status (PVS) (Q4, odds ratio [OR]: 2.099, 95% CI: 1.429-3.082), low systolic blood pressure (SBP) (< 100 mmHg, OR: 3.825, 95% CI: 2.504-5.840), and low left ventricular ejection fraction (< 40%, OR: 1.321, 95% CI: 1.002-1.741) were associated with a high FIB4 index.A high FIB4 index can predict adverse outcomes in AHF patients, which indicate that congestive liver and liver hypoperfusion occur due to low cardiac output in the acute phase of AHF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1536/ihj.20-793DOI Listing
July 2021
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