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Abstract

Information on the stage of liver fibrosis is essential in managing chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients. However, most models for predicting liver fibrosis are complicated and separate formulas are needed to predict significant fibrosis and cirrhosis. The aim of our study was to construct one simple model consisting of routine laboratory data to predict both significant fibrosis and cirrhosis among patients with CHC. Consecutive treatment-naive CHC patients who underwent liver biopsy over a 25-month period were divided into 2 sequential cohorts: training set (n = 192) and validation set (n = 78). The best model for predicting both significant fibrosis (Ishak score ≥ 3) and cirrhosis in the training set included platelets, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase with an area under ROC curves (AUC) of 0.82 and 0.92, respectively. A novel index, AST to platelet ratio index (APRI), was developed to amplify the opposing effects of liver fibrosis on AST and platelet count. The AUC of APRI for predicting significant fibrosis and cirrhosis were 0.80 and 0.89, respectively, in the training set. Using optimized cut-off values, significant fibrosis could be predicted accurately in 51% and cirrhosis in 81% of patients. The AUC of APRI for predicting significant fibrosis and cirrhosis in the validation set were 0.88 and 0.94, respectively. In conclusion, our study showed that a simple index using readily available laboratory results can identify CHC patients with significant fibrosis and cirrhosis with a high degree of accuracy. Application of this index may decrease the need for staging liver biopsy specimens among CHC patients.