Pre-treatment neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio as predictor of adverse outcomes in patients undergoing radical cystectomy for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder

T Hermanns, B Bhindi, Y Wei, J Yu, A P Noon, P O Richard, J R Bhatt, A Almatar, M A S Jewett, N E Fleshner, A R Zlotta, A J Templeton, G S Kulkarni
British Journal of Cancer 2014 July 29, 111 (3): 444-51

BACKGROUND: An elevated neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is associated with poor outcome in various tumours. Its prognostic utility in patients with urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) undergoing radical cystectomy (RC) is yet to be fully elucidated.

METHODS: A cohort of patients undergoing RC for UCB in a tertiary referral centre between 1992 and 2012 was analysed. Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio was computed using complete blood counts performed pre-RC, or before neo-adjuvant chemotherapy where applicable. Time-dependent receiver operating characteristic curves were used to determine the optimal cutoff point for predicting recurrence-free survival (RFS), cancer-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS). The predictive ability of NLR was assessed using Kaplan-Meier analyses and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models. The likelihood-ratio test was used to determine whether multivariable models were improved by including NLR.

RESULTS: The cohort included 424 patients followed for a median of 58.4 months. An NLR of 3 was determined as the optimal cutoff value. Patients with an NLR⩾3.0 had significantly worse survival outcomes (5y-RFS: 53% vs 64%, log-rank P=0.013; 5y-CSS: 57% vs 75%, log-rank P<0.001; 5y-OS: 43% vs 64%, log-rank P<0.001). After adjusting for disease-specific predictors, an NLR ⩾3.0 was significantly associated with worse RFS (HR=1.49; 95% CI=1.12-2.0, P=0.007), CSS (HR=1.88; 95% CI=1.39-2.54, P<0.001) and OS (average HR=1.67; 95% CI=1.17-2.39, P=0.005). The likelihood-ratio test confirmed that prognostic models were improved by including NLR.

CONCLUSIONS: Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio is an inexpensive prognostic biomarker for patients undergoing RC for UCB. It offers pre-treatment prognostic value in addition to established prognosticators and may be helpful in guiding treatment decisions.

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