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The prognostic impact of neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with EGFR TKI

Authors Phan TT, Ho TT, Nguyen HT, Nguyen HT, Tran TB, Nguyen ST

Received 18 May 2018

Accepted for publication 1 August 2018

Published 19 November 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 423—430

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S174605

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Thang Thanh Phan,1 Toan Trong Ho,1 Hue Thi Nguyen,1 Hang Thuy Nguyen,2 Thu Bich Tran,3 Son Truong Nguyen1

1Laboratory D Unit, Clinical Cancer Center, Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; 2Pathology Department, Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; 3Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, University of Science, VNU-HCM, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Purpose: To identify and clarify the roles of inflammatory markers in prognosis for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI).
Patients and methods: One hundred and twelve adenocarcinoma, clinical stage IV, NSCLC patients with either EGFR exon 19 deletion (E19del) or EGFR exon 21  L858R substitution mutation (L858R) were selected for this study. The blood cell count at different stages of treatment was used to calculate the inflammatory markers. The Kaplan–Meier statistics and Cox regression model were used to test the differences of progression-free survival (PFS) between groups by the optimal cutoff point of biomarkers.
Results: The median values of white blood cell (WBC), neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), monocyte to lymphocyte ratio (MLR) and platelet to lymphocyte ratio (PLR) in NSCLC patients tended to be reduced after 3 months treated with EGFR TKI and increased conversely when the disease develops progression (P<0.001). With an optimal cutoff point of 2.96, NLR is the best prognostic marker in prediction of clinical response among the investigated markers (area under the curve [AUC]=0.873, 95% CI: 0.821–0.926, P<0.001), and it is an independent predictive marker (OR=3.52, 95% CI: 1.42–8.71, P<0.001). With optimal cutoff point of 0.38, MLR is also a predictive marker in response evaluation (AUC=0.762, 95% CI: 0.691–0.832). Univariate analyses have shown that the larger tumor size (>3cm) and the high level of pretreatment NLR were associated with the shortening of PFS (HR=2.24, 95% CI: 1.04–4.83, P=0.039 and HR=2.67, 95% CI: 1.41–5.03, P=0.006, respectively). Multivariate analysis has shown that the elevated NLR is an independent prognostic marker for worse PFS of NSCLC patients treated with EGFR TKI (HR=2.15, 95% CI: 1.15–3.99, P=0.016).
Conclusion: NLR and MLR are valuable markers in response evaluation for NSCLC patients treated with EGFR TKI. The elevated NLR is also an independent prognostic factor for worse survival.

Keywords: neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio, NLR, NSCLC, EGFR TKI

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