Performance of biomarkers FibroTest, ActiTest, SteatoTest, and NashTest in patients with severe obesity: meta analysis of individual patient data

PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e30325. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030325. Epub 2012 Mar 14.


Background: Liver biopsy is considered as the gold standard for assessing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) histologic lesions in patients with severe obesity. The aim of this study was to perform an overview of 3 studies which assessed the performance of non-invasive markers of fibrosis (FibroTest), steatosis (SteatoTest) and steato-hepatitis (NashTest, ActiTest) in these patients.

Methods: 494 patients with interpretable biopsy and biomarkers using of three prospective cohorts of patients with severe obesity (BMI >35 kg/m2) were included. Histology (NAS score) and the biochemical measurements were blinded to any other characteristics. The area under the ROC curves (AUROC), sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values were assessed. Weighted AUROC (wAUROC Obuchowski method) was used to prevent multiple testing and spectrum effect. Two meta-analyses were performed; one used the individual patient, and the other a classical meta-analysis.

Results: Prevalence of advanced fibrosis (bridging) was 9.9%, advanced steatosis (>33%) 54.2%, and steato-hepatitis (NAS score >4) 17.2%. The mean wAUROCs were: FibroTest for advanced fibrosis (95%CI; significance) = 0.85 (0.83-0.87; P<0.0001); SteatoTest for advanced steatosis = 0.80 (0.79-0.83); and ActiTest for steato-hepatitis = 0.84 (0.82-0.86; P<0.0001). Using the classical meta-analysis (random effect model) the mean AUROCs were: FibroTest = 0.72 (0.63-0.79; P<0.0001); SteatoTest = 0.71 (0.66-0.75; P<0.0001); and ActiTest = 0.74 (0.68-0.79; P<0.0001). Despite more metabolic risk factors in one cohort, results were similar according to gender, presence of diabetes and between the 3 cohorts.

Conclusion: In patients with severe obesity, a significant diagnostic performance of FibroTest, SteatoTest and ActiTest was observed for liver lesions.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Fibrosis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications
  • Obesity, Morbid / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic*


  • Biomarkers
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic