Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis: Diagnostic Accuracy of Pro-C3 for Hepatic Fibrosis in Patients with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Biomedicines. 2021 Dec 15;9(12):1920. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9121920.


The prevalence and severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing, yet adequately validated tests for care paths are limited and non-invasive markers of disease progression are urgently needed. The aim of this work was to summarize the performance of Pro-C3, a biomarker of active fibrogenesis, in detecting significant fibrosis (F ≥ 2), advanced fibrosis (F ≥ 3), cirrhosis (F4) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in patients with NAFLD. A sensitive search of five databases was performed in July 2021. Studies reporting Pro-C3 measurements and liver histology in adults with NAFLD without co-existing liver diseases were eligible. Meta-analysis was conducted by applying a bivariate random effects model to produce summary estimates of Pro-C3 accuracy. From 35 evaluated reports, eight studies met our inclusion criteria; 1568 patients were included in our meta-analysis of significant fibrosis and 2058 in that of advanced fibrosis. The area under the summary curve was 0.81 (95% CI 0.77-0.84) in detecting significant fibrosis and 0.79 (95% CI 0.73-0.82) for advanced fibrosis. Our results support Pro-C3 as an important candidate biomarker for non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis in NAFLD. Further direct comparisons with currently recommended non-invasive tests will demonstrate whether Pro-C3 panels can outperform these tests, and improve care paths for patients with NAFLD.

Keywords: Pro-C3; biomarker; collagen type III; fatty liver; fibrosis; liver disease.

Publication types

  • Review