MAFLD: A Consensus-Driven Proposed Nomenclature for Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease

Gastroenterology. 2020 May;158(7):1999-2014.e1. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.11.312. Epub 2020 Feb 8.


Fatty liver associated with metabolic dysfunction is common, affects a quarter of the population, and has no approved drug therapy. Although pharmacotherapies are in development, response rates appear modest. The heterogeneous pathogenesis of metabolic fatty liver diseases and inaccuracies in terminology and definitions necessitate a reappraisal of nomenclature to inform clinical trial design and drug development. A group of experts sought to integrate current understanding of patient heterogeneity captured under the acronym nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and provide suggestions on terminology that more accurately reflects pathogenesis and can help in patient stratification for management. Experts reached consensus that NAFLD does not reflect current knowledge, and metabolic (dysfunction) associated fatty liver disease "MAFLD" was suggested as a more appropriate overarching term. This opens the door for efforts from the research community to update the nomenclature and subphenotype the disease to accelerate the translational path to new treatments.

Keywords: Heterogeneity; MAFLD; Metabolic; Nomenclature.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Gastroenterology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / classification*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnosis
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Terminology as Topic*