An elevated neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has been reported to be associated with the pathological response to neoadjuvant therapies in numerous types of cancer. The aim of the current study was to clarify the association between pre-treatment NLR and the pathological response to preoperative chemoradiotherapy in pancreatic cancer patients. This retrospective analysis included data from 56 consecutive patients whose tumors were completely surgically resected. All patients received preoperative therapy, consisting of gemcitabine-based chemotherapy (alone or in combination with S-1) combined with 40 or 50.4 Gy irradiation, prior to surgery. Predictive factors, including NLR, platelet to lymphocyte ratio (PLR), modified Glasgow prognostic score and prognostic nutrition index, were measured prior to treatment. A comparison was made between those who responded well pathologically (good response group, Evans classification IIb/III) and those with a poor response (Evans I/IIa). NLR was determined to be significantly higher in the poor response group. Multivariate analysis identified an elevated NLR as an independent risk factor for the poor pathological response [odds ratio (OR), 5.35; P=0.0257]. The pre-treatment NLR (≥2.2/<2.2) was found to be a statistically significant predictive indicator of pathological response (P=0.00699). The results demonstrate that pre-treatment NLR may be a useful predictive marker for the pathological response to preoperative therapy in pancreatic cancer patients.
Keywords: chemoradiotherapy; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio; pancreatic cancer.