Background: Many factors have prognostic significance in lung cancer. However, their practical value remains controversial except for stage of disease, performance status, and, perhaps, weight loss.
Methods: In the present study, counts of platelet (P), leukocyte (L), neutrophil (N), and hemoglobin serum content (Hb) were analyzed in 1201 new consecutive lung cancer patients. A set of 28 anthropometric, clinical, physical, laboratory, radiological, and pathological variables was prospectively recorded for all patients. Patients were carefully followed-up, and their subsequent clinical course recorded.
Results: Anemia, leukocytosis, and thrombocytosis were present in 56%, 32%, and 17% of patients, respectively. Correlation tests showed that P was significantly correlated with L, N and Hb (rs = 0.353, 0.352, and -0.295, respectively). Other significant associations were those between Hb and Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) (rs = 0.232), weight loss (rs = -0.210), and serum protein (rs = 0.263). N and L were correlated with KPS (rs = -0.217 and -0.186), stage of disease (rs = 0.153 and 0.135) and number of metastasis (rs = 0.121 and 0.109). Univariate analyses of survival showed that: a) abnormal values of L were prognosticantly significant in adenocarcinoma (p < 0.0001); b) patients with Hb < 13 g/dL had significantly shorter survivals (p = 0.0002); and c) thrombocytosis was associated to a poor outcome in patients with adenocarcinoma and epidermoid cancers (p = 0.0061 and 0.0072, respectively). The multivariate model selected, in decreasing order of significance, the following variables: 1) stage of disease; 2) KPS; 3) neutrophils; 4) age; and 5) sex.
Conclusion: This data indicates that only the leukocyte counts is an independent prognostic factors of survival in lung cancer.