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Pretreatment neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio: useful prognostic biomarker in hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Najjar M, Agrawal S, Emond JC, Halazun KJ

Received 20 April 2017

Accepted for publication 5 September 2017

Published 18 January 2018 Volume 2018:5 Pages 17—28

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JHC.S86792

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ahmed O Kaseb

Marc Najjar,1 Surbhi Agrawal,1 Jean C Emond,1 Karim J Halazun1,2

1Department of Surgery, Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, Columbia University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY, USA; 2Department of Surgery, Division of Liver Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common liver malignancy and the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Liver resection (LR) and liver transplantation (LT) are the only curative modalities for HCC. Despite recent advances and the adoption of the Milan and University of California, San Francisco, criteria, HCC recurrence after LR and LT remains a challenge. Several markers and prognostic scores have been proposed to predict tumor aggressiveness and supplement radiological data; among them, neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has recently gained significant interest. An elevated NLR is thought to predispose to HCC recurrence by creating a protumorigenic microenvironment through both relative neutrophilia and lymphocytopenia. In the present review, we attempted to summarize the published work on the role of pretreatment NLR as a prognostic marker for HCC following LR and LT. A total of 13 LT and 18 LR studies were included from 2008 to 2015. Pretransplant NLR was most often predictive of HCC recurrence, recurrence-free survival, and overall survival. NLR was, however, more variably and less clearly associated with worse outcomes following LR.

Keywords:
neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver resection, liver transplantation

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