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The Utility of Retinol-Binding Protein 4 in Predicting Liver Fibrosis in Chronic Hepatitis C Patients in Response to Direct-Acting Antivirals

Authors Fayed HM, Mahmoud HS, Elaiw Mohamed Ali A

Received 4 September 2019

Accepted for publication 14 January 2020

Published 21 February 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 53—63


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Everson L.A. Artifon

Hanan Mahmoud Fayed,1 Hasan Sedeek Mahmoud,2 Abdallah Elaiw Mohamed Ali1

1Clinical and Chemical Pathology Department, Qena Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt; 2Tropical Medicine and Gastroenterology Department, Qena Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt

Correspondence: Hanan Mahmoud Fayed
Clinical Pathology-Qena Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University-Qena-Egypt, Qena Faculty of Medicine- South Valley University Campus – 6 th Km Qena Saphaga Road, Qena 83523, Egypt
Tel +20103458990
Fax +20965337571

Background: Hepatic fibrosis grading is crucial for chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients in monitoring liver disease progression and antiviral treatment indication. Retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), an adipokine secreted by adipocytes and hepatocytes, has variable levels in health and disease.
Purpose: To comparatively evaluate RBP4 serum levels in predicting liver fibrosis in CHC versus fibroscan, noninvasive fibrosis, and inflammatory indices.
Patients and Methods: Cohort study included 50 naive non-obese CHC patients and 20 age-, sex- and body mass index-matched healthy subjects. Fibroscan, RBP4, and noninvasive fibrosis as APRI, CDS, FIB-4, GUCI, Lok index indices based on serological markers, and inflammatory indices as platelet to lymphocyte ratio (PLR) and liver regeneration markers as; alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and APRI, were evaluated in response to direct-acting antivirals (DAAs).
Results: RBP4 was significantly lower in patients than in controls (P=0.0001) and progressively decreased with the increase in fibrosis grade (F0-F=41.42± 3.08), (F2=39.32± 1.43), (F3-F4= 35.31± 0.5), (P=0.0001). Liver function, stiffness, and RBP4 significantly improved after treatment (P=0.0001). RBP4 negatively correlated with viral load (r=− 0.78, p=0.0001), fibroscan fibrosis grade (r=− 0.52, p=0.0001), AFP (r=− 0.63, p=0.0001), and positively correlated with platelet (r=0.424, p=0.0001), and white cell count (r=0.298, p=0.002). RBP4 at a cutoff value < 40.55 ng/mL might predict significant fibrosis (90.48% sensitivity, 62.5% specificity, AUROC=0.811, 95% CI=67.5– 90.0) and at a cutoff value < 35.9 ng/mL could predict advanced fibrosis (100% sensitivity, 100% specificity, AUROC =1.0, 95% CI=0.929– 1).
Conclusion: RBP4 showed excellent accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV. RBP4 has a superior diagnostic performance in predicting advanced fibrosis grads in CHC patients and hence can replace expensive invasive procedures.

Keywords: APRI, FIB-4, GUCI, noninvasive fibrosis indices, platelet lymphocyte ratio, transient elastography fibroscan

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