Na‐Ling Kang, Lu‐Ying Wu, Qi Zheng, Xue‐Ping Yu, Ai‐Rong Hu, Yue Guo, Huan Li, Xiang‐Yang Ye, Qing‐Fa Ruan, Zhong‐Hua Lu, Ling Wu, Wen Jin, Yu‐Rui Liu, Chen Pan, Shan‐Shan Liu, Ji‐Ming Zhang, Jia‐Ji Jiang, Da‐Wu Zeng

Determining optimal ALT cut‐off values for predicting significant hepatic histological changes in patients with normal ALT in the grey zone of chronic hepatitis B virus infection

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology

SummaryBackground and AimsWe aimed to define gender‐specific, optimal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) cut‐off values for the prediction of significant liver histological changes (SLHC) in Chinese patients with grey zone (GZ) chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and normal ALT.MethodsIn a retrospective study, we included 1101 consecutive patients with GZ CHB and normal ALT assigned to training or internal validation cohorts. We included an independent cohort of 842 patients for external validation. We performed receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, smoothed curve fitting, and threshold effect analyses to determine optimal ALT cut‐off values. Area under the curve (AUC) values were calculated to assess their predictive performance.ResultsA proportion of 79.3% of patients with GZ CHB and normal ALT (≤40 U/L) had SLHC. ROC curve analysis initially identified optimal ALT cut‐off values of 29 U/L (male) and 22 U/L (female). After smoothed curve fitting and threshold effect analyses, new optimal cut‐off values were 27 U/L for males and 24 U/L for females. AUCs for these values were 0.836 (male) and 0.833 (female) in the internal validation cohort, and 0.849 (male) and 0.844 (female) in the external validation cohort. The accuracy and discriminative ability of the newly defined ALT cut‐off values were greater than those of the current recommendations.ConclusionThis study established novel optimal ALT cut‐off values for more precise prediction of SLHC among Chinese patients with GZ CHB and normal ALT levels. This may help identify individuals who will benefit from timely antiviral therapy.

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