BACKGROUND A pilot, single-center study showed that first-degree relatives of probands with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) cirrhosis have a high risk of advanced fibrosis. We aimed to validate these findings using 2 independent cohorts from the US and Europe.METHODS This prospective study included probands with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis, NAFLD without advanced fibrosis, and non-NAFLD, with at least 1 first-degree relative. A total of 396 first-degree relatives — 220 in a derivation cohort and 176 in a validation cohort — were enrolled in the study, and liver fibrosis was evaluated using magnetic resonance elastography and other noninvasive imaging modalities. The primary outcome was prevalence of advanced fibrosis in first-degree relatives.RESULTS Prevalence of advanced fibrosis in first-degree relatives of probands with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis, NAFLD without advanced fibrosis, and non-NAFLD was 15.6%, 5.9%, and 1.3%, respectively (P = 0.002), in the derivation cohort, and 14.0%, 2.6%, and 1.3%, respectively (P = 0.004), in the validation cohort. In multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models, age of ≥50 years (adjusted OR [aOR]: 2.63, 95% CI 1.0–6.7), male sex (aOR: 3.79, 95% CI 1.6–9.2), diabetes mellitus (aOR: 3.37, 95% CI 1.3–9), and a first-degree relative with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis (aOR: 11.8, 95% CI 2.5–57) were significant predictors of presence of advanced fibrosis (all P < 0.05).CONCLUSION First-degree relatives of probands with NAFLD with advanced fibrosis have significantly increased risk of advanced fibrosis. Routine screening should be done in the first-degree relatives of patients with advanced fibrosis.FUNDING Supported by NCATS (5UL1TR001442), NIDDK (U01DK061734, U01DK130190, R01DK106419, R01DK121378, R01DK124318, P30DK120515, K23DK119460), NHLBI (P01HL147835), and NIAAA (U01AA029019); Academy of Finland grant 309263; the Novo Nordisk, EVO, and Sigrid Jusélius Foundations; and the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement 777377. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the EFPIA.


Nobuharu Tamaki, Noora Ahlholm, Panu K. Luukkonen, Kimmo Porthan, Suzanne R. Sharpton, Veeral Ajmera, Yuko Kono, Shravan Dave, Aijaz Ahmed, Vinay Sundaram, Michael J. Wilkinson, Heather Patton, Hersh Gupta, Vanessa Cervantes, Christie Hernandez, Scarlett J. Lopez, Ria Loomba, Amanda Baumgartner, Lisa Richards, Perttu E.T. Arkkila, Katriina Nemes, Helena Isoniemi, Hannele Yki-Järvinen, Rohit Loomba


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