2020 innovations in metabolic fatty liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, cholestatic pruritus, encephalopathy, and inflammatory bowel diseases

Nicolas Lanthier, Ivan Borbath, Géraldine Dahlqvist, Bénédicte Delire, Olivier Dewit Published in the journal : February 2021 Category : Hépato-gastroentérologie

Summary :

We herein present several relevant developments in the hepato-gastroenterology field during the year 2020. An expert consensus has resulted in a clearer nomenclature for “non-alcoholic” fatty liver disease, which is now referred to as "metabolic" liver disease and clearly defined using positive criteria. In fibrosing steatohepatitis, lanifibranor, which is a triple agonist of the three isoforms of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR α, δ, γ), has demonstrated clear superiority over placebo in terms of disease resolution, fibrosis regression, and metabolic profile improvement. For patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, the combined approach of atezolizumab (anti-programmed death-ligand 1 [anti-PD-L1]) and bevacizumab (anti–vascular endothelial growth factor [anti-VEGF) is a huge improvement and sets a new standard treatment in first-line. In cholestatic pruritus cases, fibrates are deemed to exert beneficial effects on the symptoms. Rifaximin, a broad-spectrum and, poorly absorbed antibiotic, has been demonstrated to be effective for preventing hepatic encephalopathy. This agent is now reimbursed when given in combination with lactulose. For inflammatory bowel diseases, ustekinumab (anti-interleukin [IL]12-IL23) is also now reimbursed in ulcerative colitis cases, and infliximab (anti-tumor necrosis factor [TNF]) as well as vedolizumab (anti-integrin) can be administered subcutaneously. Lastly, inflammatory bowel disease patients were proven not to exhibit any increased risk of coronavirus infection or developing severe COVID-19. In spite of their immunosuppressive therapy, these patients can (and should) benefit from the currently available vaccines.

Key Words

MAFLD, NASH, lanifibranor, hepatocellular carcinoma, atezolizumab, bevacizumab, pruritus, rifaximin, encephalopathy, infliximab, ustekinumab, vedolizumab, COVID-19