Prognostic accuracy of FIB-4, NAFLD fibrosis score and APRI for NAFLD-related events: A systematic review

Jenny Lee, Yasaman Vali, Jerome Boursier, Rene Spijker, Quentin M. Anstee, Patrick M. Bossuyt, Mohammad H. Zafarmand

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79 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims: Fibrosis is the strongest predictor for long-term clinical outcomes among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). There is growing interest in employing non-invasive methods for risk stratification based on prognosis. FIB-4, NFS and APRI are models commonly used for detecting fibrosis among NAFLD patients. We aimed to synthesize existing literature on the ability of these models in prognosticating NAFLD-related events. Methods: A sensitive search was conducted in two medical databases to retrieve studies evaluating the prognostic accuracy of FIB-4, NFS and APRI among NAFLD patients. Target events were change in fibrosis, liver-related event and mortality. Two reviewers independently performed reference screening, data extraction and quality assessment (QUAPAS tool). Results: A total of 13 studies (FIB-4:12, NFS: 11, APRI: 10), published between 2013 and 2019, were retrieved. All studies were conducted in a secondary or tertiary care setting, with follow-up ranging from 1 to 20 years. All three markers showed consistently good prognostication of liver-related events (AUC from 0.69 to 0.92). For mortality, FIB-4 (AUC of 0.67-0.82) and NFS (AUC of 0.70-0.83) outperformed APRI (AUC of 0.52-0.73) in all studies. All markers had inconsistent performance for predicting change in fibrosis stage. Conclusions: FIB-4, NFS, and APRI have demonstrated ability to risk stratify patients for liver-related morbidity and mortality, with comparable performance to a liver biopsy, although more head-to-head studies are needed to validate this. More refined models to prognosticate NAFLD-events may further enhance performance and clinical utility of non-invasive markers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-270
Number of pages10
JournalLiver international
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • biomarker
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • prognostic accuracy

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