Most people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or advanced fibrosis (AF) remain undiagnosed, resulting in missed opportunities for early intervention. This multicenter, prospective study assessed the yield of using routinely available data to identify these patients.
A total of 713 outpatients with T2DM, screened in four diabetology clinics for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease according to American Diabetes Association criteria, were referred to hepatologists for further work-up (Fibrosis-4 and vibration-controlled transient elastography [VCTE]). A liver biopsy was proposed when ALT levels were persistently >20 IU/L in female patients or >30 IU/L in male patients, in the absence of other liver disease.
Liver biopsies were performed in 360 patients and considered adequate for reading after central review for 330 specimens (median patient age, 59 years; male patients, 63%; median BMI and HbA1C values, 32 and 7.5%, respectively). Prevalence of NASH, AF, and cirrhosis were 58%, 38%, and 10%, respectively. Liver lesions were independently associated with the components of metabolic syndrome but not with the micro- and macrovascular complications of T2DM. Models based on routinely available data with or without VCTE had good accuracy to predict AF (respectively: area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC], 0.84 and 0.77; and correctly classified 59% and 45%) and NASH (respectively: AUROC, 0.82 and 0.81; 44% and 42%).
Despite the use of a low ALT threshold, prevalence of NASH (58%) or AF (38%) was high. Routinely available data had a high yield in identifying patients with T2DM with AF and/or NASH requiring further liver assessment.
Clinical trial reg. no. NCT03634098, ClinicalTrials.gov
This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.22220875.