Objectives: To evaluate the relationship between biopsy-assessed hepatic steatosis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)–assessed proton density fat fraction (PDFF), and magnetic resonance elastography (MRE)–assessed liver stiffness measurement (LSM), in patients with or at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Methods: A retrospective study was performed, encompassing 256 patients who had a liver biopsy and MRI/MRE examination performed within 1 year. Clinical and laboratory data were retrieved from the electronic medical record. Hepatic steatosis and fibrosis were assessed by histopathological grading/staging. First, we analyzed the diagnostic performance of PDFF for distinguishing hepatic steatosis with the receiver operating characteristic analyses. Second, variables influencing LSM were screened with univariant analyses, then identified with multivariable linear regression. Finally, the potential relationship between PDFF and LSM was assessed with linear regression after adjustment for other influencing factors, in patients with diagnosed steatosis (PDFF ≥ 5%). Results: The diagnostic accuracy of PDFF in distinguishing steatosis grades (S0-3) was above 0.82. No significant difference in LSM was found between patients with S1, S2, and S3 steatosis and between all steatosis grades after patients were grouped according to fibrosis stage. No statistically significant relationship was found between the LSM and PDFF (estimate = − 0.02, p = 0.065) after adjustment for fibrosis stage and age in patients with diagnosed steatosis (PDFF ≥ 5%). Conclusions: In patients with NAFLD, the severity of hepatic steatosis has no significant influence on the liver stiffness measurement with magnetic resonance elastography. Key Points: • The MRI-based proton density fat fraction provides a quantitative assessment of hepatic steatosis with high accuracy. • No significant effect of hepatic steatosis on MRE-based liver stiffness measurement was found in patients with S1, S2, and S3 steatosis and between all steatosis grades after patients were grouped according to fibrosis stage. • After adjusting for fibrosis stage and age, there was no statistically significant relationship between liver stiffness and proton density fat fraction in patients with hepatic steatosis (p = 0.065).
- Liver fibrosis
- Liver steatosis
- Magnetic resonance elastography
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging