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Background and aim
Non-invasive methods are being developed to evaluate liver fibrosis. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of rheumatoid factor (RF) to predict liver fibrosis in chronic hepatitis B (CHB).
A total of 235 non-arthritic, treatment-naive patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) were enrolled in this study. The RF level was analyzed concurrently with HBV-DNA and routine biochemical tests. The liver biopsies were scored by using the Knodell modified histology activity index (HAI) and the Ishak fibrosis score.
Mean age, ALT, AST, ALP, GGT, INR, and HBV-DNA levels were significantly higher, and mean albumin and platelet levels were significantly lower in the RF positive group than the RF negative group. Liver biopsy was performed in 112 (47.66%) patients, and the RF positivity rate was 18 (15.38%) in the infection subgroup and 73 (61.86%) in the hepatitis subgroup. Along with the RF positivity rate, the fibrosis and HAI scores were also increased. A high fibrosis score is associated with a high RF positivity rate.
In the current study, we found that there was a significant positive correlation between RF and liver fibrosis stage in patients with CHB. The RF that is easily obtained with low cost may be considered as an alternative biomarker for predicting liver fibrosis in CHB.