Direct comparison of diagnostic performance of transient elastography in patients with chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C

Liver Int. 2012 Apr;32(4):612-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2011.02660.x. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Background/aims: Accuracy of transient elastography (TE) in hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has not been well established. We aimed to compare the performances of TE for the assessment of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic HBV or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. A secondary analysis was performed to assess whether or not alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels would impact on the accuracy of TE.

Methods: This cross-sectional study, carried out in a single centre, included treatment-naïve patients with compensated chronic HBV or HCV infection, consecutively admitted between 2006 and 2008 for a liver biopsy and TE measurement on the same day.

Results: A total of 202 HBV patients and 363 HCV subjects were evaluated. Overall diagnostic accuracy of TE in the HBV group was comparable to that observed in HCV patients [area under the receiver-operating characteristics (AUROCs) 0.867 ± 0.026 vs. 0.868 ± 0.019 for predicting F ≥ 2, P = 0.975; 0.902 ± 0.029 vs. 0.894 ± 0.020 for F ≥ 3, P = 0.820; and 0.935 ± 0.024 vs. 0.947 ± 0.027 for F4, P = 0.740 respectively]. TE exhibited comparable accuracies, sensitivities, specificities, predictive values and likelihood ratios in HBV and HCV groups. AUROC analysis showed no influence of ALT levels on the performance of TE in HBV individuals. ALT-specific cut-off values did not exhibit significantly higher diagnostic performances for predicting fibrosis in HBV patients with elevated ALT.

Conclusions: In HBV patients, TE measurement accurately predicts the absence or presence of significant fibrosis, advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis and shows similar performances as compared to HCV patients. The use of TE cut-off values adjusted to ALT level did not improve performances for estimating liver fibrosis in HBV patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood*
  • Biopsy
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • France
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve


  • Alanine Transaminase