Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 11, pp 3245–3250 | Cite as

Serum Concentrations of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I (IGF-I) as a Marker of Liver Fibrosis in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C

  • Vicente Lorenzo-Zúñiga
  • Ramon Bartolí
  • Helena Masnou
  • Silvia Montoliu
  • Rosa M a Morillas
  • Ramon Planas
Original Article


Liver biopsy was until recently the only way of evaluating liver fibrosis. Noninvasive tests for hepatic fibrosis, without potential risks, are desired by clinicians as well as patients. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) synthesis is disturbed in liver fibrosis and reflects the severity of the clinical stage. We assessed serum IGF-I levels in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) to correlate with liver fibrosis and antiviral therapy. Forty patients with CHC and persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase values were enrolled and treated with peginterferon α-2a 180 μg per week plus ribavirin for 24 (n=20) or 48 (n=20) weeks. All patients underwent liver biopsy before treatment (METAVIR fibrosis stage F0, n=13; F1–F2, n=14; F3, n=7; F4, n=6). Serum IGF-I was measured at baseline, at the end of treatment period, and 24 weeks after finishing treatment. Mean IGF-I values were significantly lower in patients with advanced fibrosis (F4, 65.9±17.9 ng/mL) than in the others (F0, 145.2±47.1; F1–F2, 150.3±89.6; and F3, 121.4±35.2 ng/mL; P < .05). Serum IGF-I levels increased during combined therapy, being this increment markedly higher in patients with sustained virologic response. In conclusion, IGF-I synthesis is disturbed in CHC and reflects the severity of the liver fibrosis. Combined therapy improves serum IGF-I levels. IGF-I could represent a good, noninvasive marker of liver fibrosis.


Serum IGF-I levels Chronic hepatitis C Liver fibrosis Combined therapy 



Partly supported by a grant of the FISss (N° PI021045) of the Spanish National Institute of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vicente Lorenzo-Zúñiga
    • 1
  • Ramon Bartolí
    • 1
  • Helena Masnou
    • 1
  • Silvia Montoliu
    • 1
  • Rosa M a Morillas
    • 1
  • Ramon Planas
    • 1
  1. 1.Hepatology Unit, Department of GastroenterologyHospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Carretera del Canyet s/nBadalonaSpain

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