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Study Finds Noninvasive Blood Test for Liver Fibrosis May Alleviate Need for Liver Biopsies for Some Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C
Date:6/8/2009

MADISON, N.J., June 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A study in the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, published by Elsevier, demonstrates that the Hepascore(TM) liver fibrosis blood-serum test panel may help physicians more accurately diagnose and stage liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV), potentially alleviating the need for liver biopsy, the standard of care for staging fibrosis, in a particular subset of patients. The Hepascore test panel is provided exclusively by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services.

"Hepatologists have long sought a noninvasive technique for assessing fibrosis without conducting a liver biopsy, a painful procedure that can miss cirrhosis in some patients," said Nezam H. Afdhal, M.D., study investigator and director, Hepatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and associate professor, Medicine, Harvard Medical School. "While Hepascore is unlikely to entirely replace liver biopsy as a staging test for liver fibrosis, one can envision an algorithm using Hepascore in the management of chronic HCV. In fact, the present study suggests that a unique Hepascore-based algorithm we developed that incorporates results of FIB-4 and APRI assessments would have spared 103 of the 391 study participants with chronic HCV the need for liver biopsy, with advanced fibrosis missed in one patient. We look forward to longitudinal studies that may prospectively assess the usefulness of Hepascore in clinical strategy for monitoring, treating and possibly alleviating the need for biopsy in a subset of chronic HCV patients."

Infection with HCV most often results in chronic HCV, a liver disease. An estimated 19,000 patients were infected with HCV in the U.S. in 2006 (Source: CDC). Chro
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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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