The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NAFLD/NASH) is increasing. NAFLD/NASH may progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. However, most patients with NAFLD/NASH will die from a vascular cause. There are no approved pharmacological treatments for NASH/NAFLD. Many clinical trials have been, or are being, undertaken; however, the challenge is the assessment of the clinical endpoint. The main objective of this narrative review was to evaluate the efficacy of drugs used in clinical trials for the treatment of NAFLD/NASH that included a liver biopsy as the gold standard.
A literature search was conducted using 3 databases (PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar) to identify the clinical trials that included liver biopsy assessment before and after treatment.
In summary, the available molecules demonstrated a significant improvement in NASH and/or liver fibrosis in a minority of patients; thus, other drugs should be identified, possibly those acting on alternative pathophysiological pathways, and tested for their safety and efficacy.