The baseline ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes is associated with patient prognosis in rectal carcinoma

J Gastrointest Cancer. 2010 Jun;41(2):116-20. doi: 10.1007/s12029-009-9125-4.


Objective: In cancer patients, the balance between neutrophil (N) and lymphocyte (L) cell counts fluctuates with advancing disease. The objective of our study was to determine the prognostic implications of the N/L ratio in the peripheral blood of rectal cancer patients.

Methods: Study participants were identified from a prospective cohort of patients with rectal cancer in Dalian of China (n = 123).

Results: The median baseline N/L ratio was 2.41 +/- 2.206 (range, 0.76-20.45). Our results revealed that the N/L ratio was significantly associated with tumor size (P = 0.003) and level of cancer antigen 125 (P = 0.027). A multivariate Cox model established a significant relationship between the N/L ratio and survival (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.615; 95% confidence interval, 1.152-5.933; P = 0.021).

Conclusions: These results suggest that the N/L ratio is an independent prognostic factor in rectal cancer, and the N/L ratio may serve as a clinically accessible and useful biomarker for patient survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocytes*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neutrophils*
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / classification
  • Rectal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology