The role of neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio as a prognostic indicator in patients undergoing nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma

Nathan Grimes, Cathal Hannan, Matthew Tyson, Ali Thwaini


Introduction: Prognosis in patients with cancer is influenced by underlying tumour biology and also the host inflammatory response to the disease. There is limited evidence to suggest that an elevated neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) predicts a poorer prognosis in patients undergoing nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The aim of this paper is to investigate if patients undergoing nephrectomy for RCC with NLR ≤4 have a better overall and recurrence-free survival than patients with NLR >4.

Methods: All patients who underwent nephrectomy at a single centre between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2014 were identified. Patients were included if postoperative histology demonstrated RCC and if preoperative NLR was available. Patients were excluded if nephrectomy was not curative intent (i.e., cytoreductive nephrectomy), if primary tumour was graded to be T3b‒4 disease, if there was presence of nodal or metastatic disease on preoperative staging, or if adequate followup notes were not available. Primary and secondary outcomes were overall survival and recurrence-free survival, respectively.

Results: A total of 154 patients were included in analysis of overall survival; 146 patients were included in analysis of recurrence-free survival. Patients with NLR ≤4 had a much better overall survival than patients with NLR >4 (95% vs. 78%; p=0.0219). Patients with NLR >4 also had higher rates of recurrence (p=0.0218).

Conclusions: NLR may be a useful tool in identifying patients who may benefit from more frequent surveillance in the early postoperative period and may allow clinicians to offer surveillance schemes tailored to the individual patient.

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