Fibrosis Blood Tests Evaluated in Hepatitis C

New evaluative method shows significantly different performance profiles between tests

MONDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic hepatitis C, four blood tests have similar performance at diagnosing liver fibrosis. But a new evaluative method -- the test performance profile -- shows that there are significant differences in diagnostic accuracy between blood tests as a function of fibrosis stage, according to a report published in the March issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

Philippe Halfon, M.D., Ph.D., of the Laboratoire Alphabio in Marseille, France, and colleagues evaluated 356 patients in terms of the test performance profiles of Fibrotest, FibroMeter, Hepascore and aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index.

The researchers found that four blood tests had a similar performance for significant fibrosis (Metavir fibrosis stage 2 or above). But they found that FibroTest and FibroMeter had significantly different performance profiles as a function of fibrosis stage or diagnostic target. They also identified significant inverse differences in the misclassification rate between FibroTest and FibroMeter for the low-fibrosis stages (18 percent versus 28 percent) and high-fibrosis stages (43 percent versus 31 percent).

"In conclusion, this study shows a good performance of the four blood tests but lower than in the original publications," the authors write. "This test performance profile should be added in the description of test performance, especially in comparative studies. Finally, the test performance should be reported for different diagnostic targets."

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