Noninvasive assessment of liver fibrosis: Current and future clinical and molecular perspectives

Ryota Masuzaki, Tatsuo Kanda, Reina Sasaki, Naoki Matsumoto, Masahiro Ogawa, Shunichi Matsuoka, Seth J. Karp, Mitsuhiko Moriyama

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Liver fibrosis is one of the risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. The staging of liver fibrosis can be evaluated only via a liver biopsy, which is an invasive procedure. Noninvasive methods for the diagnosis of liver fibrosis can be divided into morphological tests such as elastography and serum biochemical tests. Transient elastography is reported to have excellent performance in the diagnosis of liver fibrosis and has been accepted as a useful tool for the prediction of HCC development and other clinical outcomes. Two-dimensional shear wave elastography is a new technique and provides a real-time stiffness image. Serum fibrosis markers have been studied based on the mechanism of fibrogenesis and fibrolysis. In the healthy liver, homeostasis of the extracellular matrix is maintained directly by enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their specific inhibitors, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). MMPs and TIMPs could be useful serum biomarkers for liver fibrosis and promising candidates for the treatment of liver fibrosis. Further studies are required to establish liver fibrosis-specific markers based on further clinical and molecular research. In this review, we summarize noninvasive fibrosis tests and molecular mechanism of liver fibrosis in current daily clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4906
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • Elastography
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Risk factor
  • Serum marker
  • Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase


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