Background: The incidence of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increased in Type 2 diabetes, primarily secondary to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). European guidelines recommend screening for NAFLD in Type 2 diabetes. American guidelines, while not advocating a screening protocol, suggest using non-invasive markers of fibrosis for risk-stratification and guiding onward referral.
Aims: To test the ability of individual fibrosis scores and the European screening algorithm to predict 11-year incident cirrhosis/HCC in an asymptomatic community cohort of older people with Type 2 diabetes.
Methods: The Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study investigated men and women with Type 2 diabetes (n=1,066, aged 60–75 at baseline). Liver markers were measured at baseline and year 1; steatosis and fibrosis markers were calculated according to independently published calculations. During 11-years of follow-up, cases of cirrhosis and HCC were identified.
Results: 43/1059 participants with no baseline cirrhosis/HCC developed incident disease. All scores were significantly associated with incident liver disease by odds ratio (p<0.05). The ability of the risk-stratification tools to accurately identify those who developed incident cirrhosis/HCC was poor with low positive predictive values (5-46%) and high false negative and positive rates (up to 60% and 77%) respectively. When fibrosis risk scores were used in conjunction with the European algorithm, they performed modestly better than when applied in isolation.
Conclusions: In a cohort with a moderately low incidence of cirrhosis/HCC, existing risk scores did not reliably identify participants at high-risk. Better prediction models for cirrhosis/HCC in people with Type 2 diabetes are required.