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Role of monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio in predicting sorafenib response in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Zhu Z, Xu L, Zhuang L, Ning Z, Zhang C, Yan X, Lin J, Shen Y, Wang P, Meng Z

Received 7 May 2018

Accepted for publication 30 July 2018

Published 10 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 6731—6740


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Pietersz

Zhenfeng Zhu,1,2,* Litao Xu,1,2,* Liping Zhuang,1,2 Zhouyu Ning,1,2 Chenyue Zhang,1,2 Xia Yan,1,2 Junhua Lin,1,2 Yehua Shen,1,2 Peng Wang,1,2 Zhiqiang Meng1,2

1Department of Integrative Oncology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai 200032, China; 2Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Sorafenib is the first-line treatment for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and its clinical response rate is only about 10%. In clinical practice, some HCC patients obtain favorable overall survival (OS) to the treatment of sorafenib while some patients do not demonstrate a sensitive response to sorafenib. Therefore, it is valuable to determine the subgroups of patients who respond well as well as poorly to sorafenib. Thus, clinical variables of advanced HCC patients with sorafenib treatment were compiled to investigate whether monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio (MLR) could be a biomarker for predicting sorafenib response.
Patients and methods: In this study, a total of 142 patients with advanced HCC were enrolled from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2016 at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center. MLR was analyzed using a ROC curve. A Cox regression model and log-rank test were performed to analyze the relationship between clinical factors and OS, as well as progression free survival (PFS).
Results: The optimal cut-off point for MLR was 0.35, and MLR level had no significant correlation with age, gender, hepatitis B infection, grade, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) level and state of portal vein tumor thrombus. Multivariate Cox regression model showed that grade (HR: 0.608, 95% CI: 0.409–0.904, P=0.014), AFP (HR: 0.445, 95% CI: 0.307–0.645, P=0.0001), MLR (HR: 0.445, 95% CI: 0.301–0.658, P=0.0001) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (HR: 1.005, 95% CI: 1.001–1.009, P=0.007) may serve as independent prognostic predictors for OS, and MLR maintained significant correlation with PFS in HCC patients (HR: 0.457, 95% CI: 0.308–0.678, P=0.0001). By log-rank test, there was longer PFS and OS in patients with low MLR than in those with high MLR (both P=0.0001).
Conclusion: MLR can predict sorafenib response and a high MLR is correlated with poor prognosis in patients with advanced HCC.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, sorafenib, monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio, prognosis

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