Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio as a prognostic factor in colorectal cancer

J Surg Oncol. 2005 Sep 1;91(3):181-4. doi: 10.1002/jso.20329.


Background and objectives: Simple methods to identify colorectal cancer patients at risk of recurrence are needed. This study aimed to determine if neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) predicts survival in colorectal cancer patients.

Methods: Two-hundred thirty patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer over a two-year period were identified from a prospectively maintained colorectal cancer database. NLR was calculated from pre-operative full blood counts. In the case of patients who did not undergo surgery, the full blood count from their out-patient visit was used. Known prognostic factors were recorded. Overall and cancer-specific survival were calculated.

Results: Pre-operative NLR greater than 5 correlated with overall and cancer-specific survival in univariate analyses. NLR was not independent of Dukes stage.

Conclusions: Pre-operative NLR may represent a simple method of identifying colorectal cancer patients with a poor prognosis pre-operatively.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Leukocyte Count*
  • Lymphocytes
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neutrophils
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Survival Rate
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology