The Emerging Leadership Lectures are educational activities sponsored by the JGH Foundation.
Emerging Leadership Lecture
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in Asia: A story of growth
Article first published online: 19 DEC 2012
© 2012 Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Foundation and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume 28, Issue 1, pages 18–23, January 2013
How to Cite
Wong, V. W.-S. (2013), Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in Asia: A story of growth. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 28: 18–23. doi: 10.1111/jgh.12011
Statement of interests: I have served as a speaker with Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Roche Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Diagnostics, and am on the advisory boards of Gilead and Otsuka.
- Issue published online: 19 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 19 DEC 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 24 OCT 2012 07:24AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 OCT 2012
- liver fibrosis;
- transient elastography
Ten years ago, few if any researchers in Asia showed interest in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Today, NAFLD is increasingly recognized as a major chronic liver disease not only in Western countries but also in Asia. Its importance is exemplified by its high prevalence, disease progression, and association with major medical disorders. In Asia, 15–30% of the general adult population suffers from NAFLD. In patients with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, the reported prevalence is typically over 50%. Patients with the active form of NAFLD, namely steatohepatitis (NASH), may have fibrosis progression and eventually develop cirrhosis. Patients with NASH-related cirrhosis have similar mortality to those with other causes of cirrhosis, and they have a high risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma up to 2–3% per year. In addition, NAFLD patients have a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and colorectal neoplasm. One major challenge for practicing clinicians is how to identify patients with significant liver disease among many who are found to have NAFLD. While liver biopsy is traditionally considered the gold standard for disease staging, it is invasive and unpleasant, and is an impractical tool for a disease that affects a quarter of the general population. To this end, new developments in transient elastography and biomarkers such as cytokeratin-18 fragments can help exclude significant liver fibrosis and NASH, respectively. This article summarizes a young researcher's journey through this exciting area of research and what he has learned from amazing people all around the world.