Novel blood-based biomarker panels for the diagnosis and staging of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver diseaseNovember 2, 2022
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease, with a prevalence of 25% in the general population, 40% in the obese and above 60% in the diabetic population. The prevalence of NAFLD is expected to increase further, following the rising rates of obesity. NAFLD is characterized at an early stage by accumulation of free fatty acids and triglycerides in the liver (Non-alcoholic fatty liver [NAFL]). Patients with NAFL will often develop liver inflammation and hepatic injury (Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, [NASH]). In more advanced stages, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis occur. When liver inflammation is present, progress to liver fibrosis is observed much sooner (median time 4.2 years) than when it is absent (13.4 years). When liver fibrosis occurs, mortality increases due to the high risk of severe liver disease and cardiovascular events. Thus, it is important to be able to distinguish between NAFL and NASH and to detect the different stages of liver fibrosis.