The aim of this review is to outline emerging biomarkers that can serve as early diagnostic tools to identify patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and, among them, the subgroup of best candidates for clinical trials on emerging compounds. Regarding possible predictors of NAFLD, a number of studies evaluated a combination of serum biomarkers either available in routine practice (or investigational) or proprietary and expensive. So far, magnetic resonance imaging-derived proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF) appears to be the most accurate for fatty liver diagnosis. In clinical practice, the main question is how to diagnose NASH early. There are new promising biomarkers that can help in diagnosing early stages of NASH, yet they include variables not routinely tested. In the setting of NASH, most studies confirm that, in spite of several well-known limitations, transient elastography or point shear wave elastography can help in enriching the pool of patients that should be screened for investigational treatments. Newer multiomics biomarkers including those focusing on microbiota can be useful but require methods to be standardized and implemented. To date, one biomarker alone is not able to non- or minimally invasively identify patients with NASH and mild to moderate fibrosis.
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
- noninvasive tests