This study aimed to investigate the correlation between serum microRNA levels and histological stages of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB). A total of 28 patients with CHB who received liver biopsy at China Medical University Hospital between October 2012 and April 2013 were included in the study. The patients were divided into four groups according to the histological stages of liver fibrosis by using the METAVIR score. Serum microRNA levels were tested using quantitative real-time PCR after microRNA extraction from patients' serum. Of all the tested microRNAs, miR-21, miR-29, and miR-221 were expressed in the serum. The expression levels of serum miR-21 were significantly correlated with liver fibrosis stages (r = 0.420, P = 0.026). The expression levels of serum miR-21 were significantly correlated with cirrhosis (METAVIR F4 vs. F1-F3, r = 0.386, P = 0.043). The grades of serum miR-21 showed significant ordered differences among different stages of liver fibrosis (P = 0.019). However, miR-21 exhibited an inferior predictive performance for liver fibrosis F2-F4 (AUROC = 0.69) compared with other noninvasive markers of liver fibrosis, namely the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) to platelet ratio index (APRI) and Fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) score (AUROC = 0.83 and 0.86, respectively). Serum miR-21 correlated with the histological stage of liver fibrosis in patients with CHB. The predictive performance of serum miR-21 for the histological stage of liver fibrosis tended to be inferior to those of the APRI and FIB-4 score.
Keywords: APRI; FIB-4; chronic hepatitis B; liver fibrosis; miR-21.
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