BACKGROUND - The clinical significance of autotaxin (ATX), a key enzyme for the production of the bioactive lysophospholipid lysophosphatidic acid remains unknown. Serum ATX enzymatic activity reportedly increases in parallel with liver fibrosis and exhibits a gender difference.
METHODS - Serum ATX antigen level, measured easier than the activity, was evaluated as a marker of liver fibrosis in 2 cohorts of chronic liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus.
RESULTS - In the first cohort, serum ATX level correlated significantly with liver fibrosis stage and was the best parameter for prediction of cirrhosis with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of 0.756 in male and 0.760 in female, when compared with serum hyaluronic acid and aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index, an established marker of liver fibrosis. In another cohort, serum ATX level correlated significantly with liver stiffness, a novel reliable marker of liver fibrosis, being the second-best parameter in male (AUROC, 0.799) and in female (AUROC, 0.876) for prediction of significant fibrosis, and the best parameter in male (AUROC, 0.863) and the third-best parameter in female (AUROC, 0.872) for prediction of cirrhosis, both of which were judged by liver stiffness.
CONCLUSIONS - Serum ATX level may be a novel marker of liver fibrosis.
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