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Emerging therapeutic options for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A systematic review

World J Hepatol. 2023 Aug 27;15(8):1001-1012. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v15.i8.1001.


BACKGROUND: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become a prevalent cause of chronic liver disease and ranks third among the causes of transplantation. In the United States alone, annual medical costs are approximately 100 billion dollars. Unfortunately, there is no Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication for its treatment. However, various clinical trials are investigating several therapeutic classes that could potentially treat NAFLD. It is valuable to have a compilation of the data available on their efficacy.

AIM: To assess the efficacy of cyclophilin inhibitors, fibroblast growth factor 21 analogs (FGF21), and dual and pan peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists for treating NAFLD.

METHODS: A comprehensive literature search using keywords including cyclophilin inhibitor, FGF agonist, pan-PPAR agonists, dual-PPAR agonist, NAFLD, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and fatty liver was conducted on October 29, 2022, in PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Scopus and Web of Science. Animal and human research, case reports, and published articles in English from all countries with patients aged 18 and above were included. Only articles with a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Quality Assessment score of five or higher out of eight points were included. Articles that were narrative or systematic reviews, abstracts, not in English, focused on patients under 18 years old, did not measure outcomes of interest, were inaccessible, or had a low NIH Quality Assessment score were excluded. Each article was screened by two independent researchers evaluating relevance and quality. Resources were scored based on the NIH Quality Assessment Score; then, pertinent data was extracted in a spreadsheet and descriptively analyzed.

RESULTS: Of the 681 records screened, 29 met the necessary criteria and were included in this review. These records included 12 human studies and 17 animal studies. Specifically, there were four studies on cyclophilin inhibitors, four on FGF agonists/analogs, eleven on pan-PPAR agonists, and ten on dual-PPAR agonists. Different investigational products were assessed: The most common cyclophilin inhibitor was NV556; FGF agonists and analogs was Efruxifermin; pan-PPAR agonists was Lanifibranor; and dual-PPAR agonists was Saroglitazar. All classes were found to be statistically efficacious for the treatment of NAFLD, with animal studies demonstrating improvement in steatosis and/or fibrosis on biopsy and human studies evidencing improvement in different metabolic parameters and/or steatosis and fibrosis on FibroScan (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The data analyzed in this review showed clinically significant improvement in individual histological features of NAFLD in both animal and human trials for all four classes, as well as good safety profiles (P < 0.05). We believe this compilation of information will have positive clinical implications in obtaining an FDA-approved therapy for NAFLD.

PMID:37701920 | PMC:PMC10494562 | DOI:10.4254/wjh.v15.i8.1001

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