Iron Levels Not a Factor in Hepatitis C Liver Fibrosis

Levels may be used as marker of disease severity, however

THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Serum iron levels probably do not contribute to liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection but might be used as a surrogate marker for disease severity, according to a report in the April issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

Dominique Guyader, M.D., of the University of Rennes, France, and colleagues compared serum ferritin and liver iron to clinical, biological and histological variables in 586 patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. All patients had liver biopsy prior to antiviral treatment.

Hyperferritinemia was detected in 27 percent of patients and less than half of these subjects showed liver iron deposits. While the investigators initially found a strong link between serum ferritin or hepatic iron and fibrosis, the association did not hold upon multivariate analysis.

"Our study does not favor a direct link between iron and fibrosis progression and indicates that liver iron should be better considered as a surrogate marker of severe fibrosis in chronic hepatitis C than as a fibrogenic factor per se," the authors conclude.

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