Previous evidence suggests that sialic acid-binding Ig-like lectin 7 (Siglec-7) protein is significantly increased in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and directly correlates with clinical parameters of liver inflammation and fibrosis. The aim of this study was to determine the diagnostic value of Siglec-7 as a non-invasive tool to assess liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C in a cross-sectional study. Serum levels of Siglec-7 were retrospectively tested in 1007 consecutive patients with chronic HCV infection recruited at three different European sites and data examined by the ‘imperfect gold-standard’ statistical analysis. Liver stiffness obtained by transient elastography (TE) was considered the standard reference. Liver fibrosis was staged according to published cut-offs of liver stiffness measurement by TE. Accuracy of detection of liver fibrosis stage was not increased by Siglec-7 alone. However, we developed a new index (SiGAP) including Siglec-7, γ-glutamyl transferase, age and platelet count which showed increased sensitivity and specificity in predicting fibrosis compared with APRI or FIB4 indices. The AUROC of SiGAP for the diagnosis of significant (≥F2) and advanced liver fibrosis (≥F3) showed significantly higher values than those of APRI and FIB-4. Siglec-7 may be useful as a complementary tool to assess liver fibrosis stage in patients with chronic hepatitis C when included in a specifically designed algorithm, which showed high level of accuracy in the detection of F2 and F3 fibrosis stage.
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