From the AGA Journals

Fibrosis severity and cirrhosis drive patient-reported outcomes with NASH



Patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and advanced fibrosis reported lower quality of life that is worsened in those who develop cirrhosis, based on data from 1,667 individuals.

NASH is becoming an increasingly common cause of liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma and can have a negative effect on patients’ quality of life and other patient-reported outcomes (PROs), but studies of the impact on PROs in these patients are limited, wrote Zobair M. Younossi, MD, of the Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va., and colleagues.

In a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the researchers reviewed data from 870 adults with NASH cirrhosis and 797 with NASH and bridging fibrosis. The average age of the patients was 58 years, 73% were white, 40% were male, 52% had cirrhosis, and 74% had diabetes.

The researchers used four tools to assess quality of life: the SF-36 (36-Item Short Form Health Survey), the EQ-5D (Euroqol, a generic health questionnaire), the CLDQ-NASH (Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire-NASH), and the WPAI:SHP (Work Productivity and Activity Impairment: Specific Health Problem).

The SF-36 score is based on eight domains: physical functioning, role physical, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, role emotional, and mental health.

Overall, patients with NASH and cirrhosis had significantly lower scores on domains of the SF-36 that related to physical function, compared with bridging fibrosis patients (70.3 vs. 73.6), as well as role physical (71.6 vs. 75.4) and bodily pain (65.0 vs. 68.6). The other areas of significant impairment in NASH patients with cirrhosis, compared with NASH patients with fibrosis, appeared in four domains of the disease-specific CLDQ-NASH: activity, emotional, fatigue, and worry. In addition, the EQ-5D utility score was significantly lower in cirrhosis patients, compared with fibrosis patients.

Older age, male sex, Asian race, and U.S. location of study enrollment were independent predictors of higher PRO scores in a multivariate analysis, while black race, history of smoking, history of diabetes, higher body mass index, cirrhosis, and history of comorbidities that were gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, psychiatric, or neurologic were independent predictors of lower PRO scores in patients with advanced fibrosis and NASH.

WPAI:SHP scores, which focused on work productivity impairment and absenteeism, were not significantly different between the groups.

The study findings were limited by several factors including the specific nature of the study population and absence of non-NASH controls, the potential of false positives because of the use of self-reports, and the lack of longitudinal data, the researchers said. The results should be verified in a larger, diverse patient population, the researchers noted, but the data highlight the impairment in quality of life and productivity among patients with NASH and “can inform patients, clinicians, payers, and policymakers about the total burden of the disease and also the comprehensive benefit of treatment,” they concluded.

The study was supported by Gilead Sciences. Dr. Younossi disclosed relationships with Gilead Sciences, as well as Intercept, NovoNordisk, BMS, Allergan/Tobira, Terns, Viking, AbbVie, Novartis, and Quest Diagnostics.

SOURCE: Younossi ZM et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2019.02.024.

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