Background: The ability of the pretreatment lymphocyte to monocyte ratio (LMR) to predict outcomes of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) receiving sorafenib is not conclusively determined.
Methods: We retrospectively studied patients treated with sorafenib for HCC in two tertiary referral centres in Asia and North America. Primary endpoints were overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Predictive factors for the outcomes were determined by Cox proportional hazards models. A risk assessment tool was developed.
Results: Compared to the North America cohort, the Asia cohort was more heavily pretreated (72.1% vs. 35.2%; p < 0.001), had higher hepatitis B virus infection (87.6% vs. 5.6%; p < 0.001), and more distant metastases (83.2% vs. 25.4%; p < 0.001). Lower monocyte count in the Asia cohort (median 462.7 vs. 600.0/μL; p = 0.023) resulted in a higher LMR (median 2.6 vs. 1.8; p < 0.001). High LMR was associated with a significantly higher OS [hazard ratio (HR) 0.88; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81‒0.97; p = 0.007]. This was confirmed in a sensitivity analysis including patients treated in Asia only (HR 0.89; 95% CI 0.81‒0.97; p = 0.010). An OS nomogram was constructed with the following variables selected in the multivariate Cox model: LMR, treatment location, previous treatment, performance status, alpha-fetoprotein, lymph node metastasis, and Child‒Pugh score. The concordance score was 0.71 (95% CI, 0.67‒0.75). LMR did not predict PFS.
Conclusion: LMR measured before sorafenib administration predicts OS in advanced HCC patients. Our OS nomogram, incorporating LMR, can be offered to clinicians to improve their ability to assess prognosis, strengthen the prognosis-based decision-making, and inform patients in the clinic.
Keywords: Chemotherapy; Liver cancer; Lymphocyte; Monocyte; Overall survival.