Methodological aspects of the interpretation of non-invasive biomarkers of liver fibrosis: a 2008 update.
Gastroentérologie clinique et biologique
Poynard T, Muntenau M, Morra R, Ngo Y, Imbert-Bismut F, Thabut D, Messous D, Massard J, Lebray P, Moussalli J, Benhamou Y, Ratziu V
2008 Gastroenterol. Clin. Biol. Volume 32 Issue 6 Suppl 1
This review summarizes the methodological aspects of the interpretation of non-invasive biomarkers in liver fibrosis. A scoring system has been updated to better compare the quality of fibrosis biomarkers. Several methodological issues are related to the classical methodology using biopsy, as this is considered the gold standard. However, from evidence-based data, it appears that the methodology needs to change to prevent flawed conclusions among key opinion leaders as well as in obsolete guidelines. As waiting for the perfect biomarker for the diagnosis of advanced fibrosis to come along is probably a waste of time, in the meantime, methods can be improved. The main proposals for improving the methodology are, to take into account the spectrum bias, to assess accuracy between adjacent stages, to compare biomarkers in the same patient, to assess the cause of failure among discordant cases and to use specific statistical methods adapted for imperfect gold standards.