The definitive diagnosis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) currently relies on invasive and labor-intensive liver biopsy. Here, we identified soluble CUB domain-containing protein 1 (sCDCP1) as a top-ranked non-invasive biomarker for NASH using Olink-based proteomics in 238 obese individuals with liver biopsies. Both the circulating concentration and hepatic mRNA abundance of sCDCP1 were significantly elevated in patients with NASH and correlated closely with each histological feature of NASH. In the pooled multicenter validation cohort, sCDCP1 as a standalone biomarker achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) of 0.838 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.789-0.887) for diagnosing NASH, which is better than those achieved with cytokeratin-18 and other non-invasive tests. Furthermore, the C-DAG model established by the combination of sCDCP1 with diabetes, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and gender accurately rules in and rules out both NASH and fibrotic NASH (gray zones <20%). Thus, sCDCP1-based non-invasive tests can be potentially implemented for screening and early diagnosis of NASH and for ruling out low-risk individuals to avoid unnecessary liver biopsies.
Keywords: biomarkers; metabolic steatohepatitis; metabolic syndrome; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; non-invasive diagnosis; personalized risk stratification; proteomics.
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