Hepatic elastin content is predictive of adverse outcome in advanced fibrotic liver disease

Histopathology. 2018 Jul;73(1):90-100. doi: 10.1111/his.13499. Epub 2018 Apr 16.


Aims: The aim of this study was to determine if elastin content in needle core native liver biopsies was predictive of clinical outcome in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus-related chronic liver disease.

Methods and results: Elastin contents in liver biopsies were determined by image analysis, technically validated in an independent centre, and correlated with outcome in patients with advanced (Ishak stage ≥5) chronic hepatitis C virus-related chronic liver disease. Elastin was robustly quantified in an operator-independent and laboratory-independent manner, with very strong correlation of elastin staining measured with two methods of image classification (rs = 0.873, P < 0.00001). Elastin content (but not absolute scar content or Ishak stage) was predictive for future clinical outcomes. In a cohort of patients without sustained virological response, the median hepatic elastin content was 3.4%, and 17 patients (57%) progressed to a liver-related clinical outcome; 11 of the 15 patients (73%) with a hepatic elastin content of >3.4% progressed to a clinical outcome, as compared with only six of 15 (40%) with an elastin content of <3.4%. The difference in time to outcome was significant.

Conclusions: We describe a simple and reproducible method for elastin quantification in liver biopsies that provides potentially valuable prognostic information to inform clinical management.

Keywords: cirrhosis; elastin; hepatitis C virus; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Large-Core Needle
  • Elastin / analysis*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Elastin