Baseline neutrophilia, derived neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (dNLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), and outcome in non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with Nivolumab or Docetaxel

J Cell Physiol. 2018 Oct;233(10):6337-6343. doi: 10.1002/jcp.26609. Epub 2018 Apr 19.


Nivolumab is a novel therapeutic option in NSCLC, associated with a significant survival gain compared with Docetaxel. However, predictive biomarkers are lacking. The presence of systemic inflammation has been correlated with poor outcome in many cancer types. We aimed to evaluate whether there is a correlation between some indicators of inflammation and response to Nivolumab or Docetaxel in pre-treated NSCLCs. Data of 62 patients receiving Nivolumab or Docetaxel were analyzed. Baseline neutrophilia and thrombocytosis were not associated with response. High dNLR was associated with no response to Nivolumab, but not with Docetaxel, whereas high PLR correlated with low treatment response in both groups. Among refractory patients, a higher incidence of thrombocytosis, neutrophilia, high PLR, and high dNLR levels were observed compared with the overall population. This is one of the first reports in this field and suggests that indicators of inflammation might be included together with other predictive biomarkers in the baseline evaluation of patients candidate for immunotherapy.

Keywords: NSCLC; Nivolumab; biomarker; neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio; platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Blood Platelets / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / blood
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Docetaxel / administration & dosage
  • Docetaxel / adverse effects
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / blood
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / pathology*
  • Nivolumab / administration & dosage
  • Nivolumab / adverse effects
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Docetaxel
  • Nivolumab