Background & aimsMagnetic resonance elastography (MRE) and transient elastography (TE) are noninvasive techniques for detection of liver fibrosis. Single-center studies have compared the diagnostic performance of MRE vs TE in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We conducted a pooled analysis of individual participant data from published studies to compare the diagnostic performance of MRE vs TE for staging of liver fibrosis in patients with NAFLD, using liver biopsy as reference.
MethodsWe performed a systematic search of publication databases, from 2005 through 2017. We identified 3 studies of adults with NAFLD who were assessed by MRE, TE, and liver biopsy. In a pooled analysis, we calculated the cluster-adjusted area under the curve (AUROC) of MRE and TE for the detection of each stage of fibrosis. AUROC comparisons between MRE and TE were performed using the Delong test.
ResultsOur pooled analysis included 230 participants with biopsy-proven NAFLD with mean age of 52.2±13.9 years and a body mass index of 31.9±7.5 kg/m2. The proportions of patients with fibrosis of stages 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 were: 31.7%, 27.8%, 15.7%, 13.9%, and 10.9%, respectively. The AUROC of TE vs MRE for detection of fibrosis stages ≥1 was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.76-0.88) vs 0.87 (95% CI, 0.82-0.91) (P=.04); for stage≥ 2 was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.82-0.91) vs 0.92 (95% CI, 0.88-0.96) (P=.03); for stage ≥3 was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.78-0.90) vs 0.93 (95% CI, 0.89-0.96) (P=.001); for stage ≥ 4 was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.73-0.94) vs 0.94 (95% CI, 0.89-0.99) (P=.005).
ConclusionIn a pooled analysis of data from individual participants with biopsy-proven NAFLD, we found MRE to have a statistically significantly higher diagnostic accuracy than TE in detection of each stage of fibrosis. MRE and TE each have roles in detection of fibrosis in patients with NAFLD, depending upon the level of accuracy desired.