Assessment of Imaging Modalities Against Liver Biopsy in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: The Amsterdam NAFLD-NASH Cohort

Marian A. Troelstra, Julia J. Witjes, Anne Marieke van Dijk, Anne L. Mak, Oliver Gurney-Champion, Jurgen H. Runge, Diona Zwirs, Daniela Stols-Gonçalves, Aelko H. Zwinderman, Marije ten Wolde, Houshang Monajemi, Sandjai Ramsoekh, Ralph Sinkus, Otto M. van Delden, Ulrich H. Beuers, Joanne Verheij, Max Nieuwdorp, Aart J. Nederveen, Adriaan G. Holleboom*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Noninvasive diagnostic methods are urgently required in disease stratification and monitoring in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a promising technique to assess hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis, potentially enabling noninvasive identification of individuals with active and advanced stages of NAFLD. Purpose: To examine the diagnostic performance of multiparametric MRI for the assessment of disease severity along the NAFLD disease spectrum with comparison to histological scores. Study Type: Prospective, cohort. Population: Thirty-seven patients with NAFLD. Field Strength/Sequence: Multiparametric MRI at 3.0 T consisted of magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy (MRS) with multi-echo stimulated-echo acquisition mode, magnitude-based and three-point Dixon using a two-dimensional multi-echo gradient echo, MR elastography (MRE) using a generalized multishot gradient-recalled echo sequence and intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) using a multislice diffusion weighted single-shot echo-planar sequence. Assessment: Histological steatosis grades were compared to proton density fat fraction measured by MRS (PDFFMRS), magnitude-based MRI (PDFFMRI-M), and three-point Dixon (PDFFDixon), as well as FibroScan® controlled attenuation parameter (CAP). Fibrosis and disease activity were compared to IVIM and MRE. FibroScan® liver stiffness measurements were compared to fibrosis levels. Diagnostic performance of all imaging parameters was determined for distinction between simple steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Statistical Tests: Spearman's rank test, Kruskal–Wallis test, Dunn's post-hoc test with Holm-Bonferroni P-value adjustment, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. A P-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Histological steatosis grade correlated significantly with PDFFMRS (rs = 0.66, P < 0.001), PDFFMRI-M (rs = 0.68, P < 0.001), and PDFFDixon (rs = 0.67, P < 0.001), whereas no correlation was found with CAP. MRE and IVIM diffusion and perfusion significantly correlated with disease activity (rs = 0.55, P < 0.001, rs = −0.40, P = 0.016, rs = −0.37, P = 0.027, respectively) and fibrosis (rs = 0.55, P < 0.001, rs = −0.46, P = 0.0051; rs = −0.53, P < 0.001, respectively). MRE and IVIM diffusion had the highest area-under-the-curve for distinction between simple steatosis and NASH (0.79 and 0.73, respectively). Data Conclusion: Multiparametric MRI is a promising method for noninvasive, accurate, and sensitive distinction between simple hepatic steatosis and NASH, as well as for the assessment of steatosis and fibrosis severity. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy: 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1937-1949
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
Early online date15 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • liver biopsy
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • multiparametric
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • nonalcoholic steatohepatitis


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