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J Hepatol. 2003 Aug;39(2):179-86.

Serum levels of YKL-40 and PIIINP as prognostic markers in patients with alcoholic liver disease.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Alcohol Unit, Hvidovre Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark.



YKL-40 (growth factor) and PIIINP (N-terminal propeptide of Type III procollagen) are potential markers of liver fibrosis. The aim was to evaluate the prognostic value of serum YKL-40 and PIIINP levels in patients with alcoholic liver disease.


Three hundred and seventy patients with alcoholic liver disease were studied in a trial of malotilate with a median follow-up period of 470 days; 75 patients died; 336 patients had a liver biopsy on entry. Serum levels of YKL-40 and PIIINP were determined by radioimmunoassay (RIA).


Serum YKL-40 and PIIINP were elevated in the patients compared to controls. Patients with steatosis or no fibrosis had the lowest serum levels of YKL-40 and PIIINP, whereas patients with alcoholic hepatitis and/or cirrhosis had the highest levels. Serum YKL-40 was associated with the presence of fibrosis, and serum PIIINP was also associated with the different grades of fibrosis. Patients with elevated serum YKL-40 or PIIINP had shorter survival than patients with normal serum levels of YKL-40 (P<0.0001) or PIIINP (P=0.044). High degree of fibrosis predicted shorter survival (P=0.004).


Serum levels of YKL-40 and PIIINP are elevated in alcoholic patients, related to the presence of liver fibrosis and may provide prognostic information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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