Although liver fibrosis reflects disease severity in chronic hepatitis patients, there has been no simple and accurate system to evaluate the therapeutic effect based on fibrosis. We developed a glycan-based immunoassay, FastLec-Hepa, to fill this unmet need. FastLec-Hepa automatically detects unique fibrosis-related glyco-alteration in serum hyperglycosylated Mac-2 binding protein within 20 min. The serum FastLec-Hepa counts increased with advancing fibrosis and illustrated significant differences in medians between all fibrosis stages. FastLec-Hepa is sufficiently sensitive and quantitative to evaluate the effects of PEG-interferon-α/ribavirin therapy in a short post-therapeutic interval. The obtained fibrosis progression is equivalent to-0.30 stages/year in patients with sustained virological response, and 0.01 stages/year in relapse/nonresponders. Furthermore, long-term follow-up of the severely affected patients found hepatocellular carcinoma developed in patients after therapy whose FastLec-Hepa counts remained above a designated cutoff value. FastLec-Hepa is the only assay currently available for clinically beneficial therapy evaluation through quantitation of disease severity.
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