The study, carried out by researchers from Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond, Virginia, USA, was performed by retrospective analysis of 302 consecutive inmates in the Virginia Department of Corrections.
All subjects were evaluated for hepatitis C virus (HCV) between October 1998 and July 2002.
In every case subjects were anti-HCV positive, HCV treatment naïve and were negative for both human immunodeficiency virus and HBV. All had compensated liver disease.
The mean age of the cohort was 41 years, with 91% being male, and 51% Caucasian.
|African Americans have less piecemeal necrosis than Caucasians
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The mean ALT level was 94 U/L; 49% had a normal ALT level, and 80% were genotype 1. The mean Knodell histologic activity index (HAI) was 7.03, with bridging fibrosis in 18% and cirrhosis in 6%.
When analyzed by race, the mean ALT level (106 vs. 79 U/L), proportion with normal ALT level (46% vs. 57%), and proportion with genotype 1 (67% vs. 94%) were different between Caucasians and African Americans, respectively.
The researchers found that although the HAI and proportion with bridging fibrosis/cirrhosis were similar between groups, African Americans had lower piecemeal necrosis (1.41 vs. 1.72) and fibrosis (1.12 vs. 1.40) scores compared to Caucasians.
Multivariate analysis demonstrated that age, ALT, and race were significant independent variables associated with total HAI, piecemeal necrosis, and fibrosis scores.
The authors conclude that although the overall spectrum of liver disease is similar, African Americans have less piecemeal necrosis and lower fibrosis scores independent of age and ALT compared with Caucasians.