Background: This study was designed to evaluate the impact of an elevated preoperative neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) on outcome after curative resection for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: Patients undergoing resection for HCC from January 1994 to May 2007 were identified from the hepatobiliary database. Demographics, laboratory analyses, and histopathology data were analyzed.
Results: A total of 96 patients were identified with a median age at diagnosis of 65 (range, 15-85) years. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival rates were 80%, 58%, and 52%, respectively. Although the presence of microvascular invasion, NLR >or=5, and R1 resection margin were adverse predictors of overall survival, there were no independent predictors identified on multivariate analysis. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year disease-free survival rates were 74%, 63%, and 57%, respectively. Preoperative tumor biopsy, NLR >or= 5, multiple liver tumors, microvascular invasion, and R1 resection margin were all predictors of poorer disease-free survival. Multivariate analysis showed that a NLR >or= 5 and R1 resection margin were independent predictors of poorer disease-free survival. The median disease-free survival of those with a NLR >or= 5 was 8 months compared with 18 months for those with a NLR < 5.
Conclusion: Preoperative NLR >or= 5 was an adverse predictor of disease-free and overall survival.