Adapted time-varying covariates Cox model for predicting future cirrhosis development performs well in a large hepatitis C cohort

Lauren A. Beste, Xuefei Zhang, Grace L. Su, Tony Van, George N. Ioannou, Brandon Oselio, Monica Tincopa, Boang Liu, Amit G. Singal, Ji Zhu, Akbar K. Waljee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) frequently remain at risk for cirrhosis after sustained virologic response (SVR). Existing cirrhosis predictive models for HCV do not account for dynamic antiviral treatment status and are limited by fixed laboratory covariates and short follow up time. Advanced fibrosis assessment modalities, such as transient elastography, remain inaccessible in many settings. Improved cirrhosis predictive models are needed. Methods: We developed a laboratory-based model to predict progression of liver disease after SVR. This prediction model used a time-varying covariates Cox model adapted to utilize longitudinal laboratory data and to account for antiretroviral treatment. Individuals were included if they had a history of detectable HCV RNA and at least 2 AST-to-platelet ratio index (APRI) scores available in the national Veterans Health Administration from 2000 to 2015, Observation time extended through January 2019. We excluded individuals with preexisting cirrhosis. Covariates included baseline patient characteristics and 16 time-varying laboratory predictors. SVR, defined as permanently undetectable HCV RNA after antiviral treatment, was modeled as a step function of time. Cirrhosis development was defined as two consecutive APRI scores > 2. We predicted cirrhosis development at 1-, 3-, and 5-years follow-up. Results: In a national sample of HCV patients (n = 182,772) with a mean follow-up of 6.32 years, 42% (n = 76,854) achieved SVR before 2016 and 16.2% (n = 29,566) subsequently developed cirrhosis. The model demonstrated good discrimination for predicting cirrhosis across all combinations of laboratory data windows and cirrhosis prediction intervals. AUROCs ranged from 0.781 to 0.815, with moderate sensitivity 0.703–0.749 and specificity 0.723–0.767. Conclusion: A novel adaptation of time-varying covariates Cox modeling technique using longitudinal laboratory values and dynamic antiviral treatment status accurately predicts cirrhosis development at 1-, 3-, and 5-years among patients with HCV, with and without SVR. It improves upon earlier cirrhosis predictive models and has many potential population-based applications, especially in settings without transient elastography available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number347
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Prediction
  • Survival model
  • Sustained virologic response
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


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