Background and Aims: Syndecan 1 (CD 138) is a cell surface proteoglycan shed by cells in several pathological conditions, including wound healing. The aim of this study was to test whether CD138 could serve as a non-invasive marker for detection of liver fibrosis and thereby reduce the need for liver biopsy.
Patients and Methods: An estimation set of 134 patients and a validation set of 67 patients with chronic hepatitis C were studied. There were 80 normal healthy volunteers. Patients were staged according to liver biopsies (Metavir fibrosis staging, stage F0, n=35; F1, n=40; F2, n=37, F3, n=39; F4, n=51). Serum CD138 levels were retrospectively measured by enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay the same day of the liver biopsy. The primary endpoints were the diagnostic values of CD138 for F2–F4, F3–F4 and F4.
Results: Respective areas under receiver operating characteristic curve of CD138 for F2–F4, F3–F4 and F4 diagnosis were 0.82, 0.76 and 0.81. CD138 had a positive predictive value of 82% for F2–F4 diagnosis and a high negative predictive value (86%) and specificity (84%) for exclusion of F4.
Conclusion: CD138 is a new simple non-invasive marker for predicting liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C. The relevance of this marker in combination with other fibrosis markers should be explored.