W.-K. Seto, D. K.-H. Wong, K.-S. Cheung, K. S. H. Liu, J. Fung, L.-Y. Mak, C.-L. Lai, R. W. H. Hui, M.-F. Yuen
The potential interaction between chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), two of the most prevalent liver diseases worldwide, has not been well defined. We performed liver stiffness (LS) and controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) measurements using transient elastography in 1202 CHB patients. Of these, 601 steatotic patients were matched with nonsteatotic controls in a 1:1 ratio by age, gender, nucleoside analogue treatment status, and treatment duration. Severe fibrosis was defined according to EASL-ALEH criteria, and steatosis was defined as CAP ≥222 dB m−1. Anthropometric measurements and metabolic-related parameters were recorded. The mean age of the 1202 patients (51.4% male) was 51.8 years. 696 patients (57.9%) were on nucleoside analogues for a median duration of 76.2 months. Among treatment-naïve patients, median serum HBV DNA was lower in steatotic individuals than in controls (3.0 vs 3.4 log IU mL−1, P < .05), with this inverse relationship remaining significant in multivariate analysis (odds ratio 0.859, 95% CI 0.743-0.994, P < .05). With increased steatosis severity, there was a stepwise decrease in median HBV DNA levels (3.1 and 2.6 log IU mL−1 in no steatosis and severe steatosis, respectively, P = .032). Steatosis was associated with a higher median LS (5.4 kPa vs 5.0 kPa, P < .001). Severe steatosis, when compared to mild/moderate steatosis, was associated with an increased percentage of severe fibrosis (23.2% and 12.6%, respectively, P = .005). We conclude that severe steatosis was associated with increased fibrosis in CHB patients. Increasing steatosis was independently associated with lower serum HBV DNA levels, suggesting its potential negative effects on viral replication.