Background/methods: In order to evaluate the progression of liver fibrosis associated with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, two liver biopsy specimens obtained prior to antiviral therapy from 98 patients with HCV were scored and evaluated using statistical methods appropriate for ordered categorical data.
Results/conclusions: Greater progression of fibrosis was seen with increasing time between the biopsies. Likewise, the change in fibrosis score was significantly more pronounced in the 11 patients whose first biopsy was obtained within the first year after acquiring HCV. A multivariate logistic regression analysis of possible explanatory factors for the fibrosis outcome showed that interface hepatitis in both biopsies, the time interval between the biopsies, and age at first biopsy were associated with change in the fibrosis score. In addition we found that higher age at the time of infection was associated with development of cirrhosis, that moderate intake of alcohol was associated with fibrosis progression, and that an inflammatory response in the form of moderate interface hepatitis in the first biopsy was not necessarily associated with greater progression of fibrosis if the second biopsy showed mild interface hepatitis. However, having moderate interface hepatitis later in the course of infection as reflected by the second biopsy may be detrimental. If moderate interface hepatitis early in the course of the disease is followed by less interface hepatitis later there is less fibrosis; and if moderate interface hepatitis persists, there is more fibrosis eventually.