Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer. 2015 Feb 15;121(4):545-55. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29100. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

Prognostic value of pretreatment circulating neutrophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes in oropharyngeal cancer stratified by human papillomavirus status.

Author information

Department of Radiation Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.



The objective of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of the pretreatment circulating neutrophil count (CNC), circulating monocyte count (CMC), and circulating lymphocyte count (CLC) in human papillomavirus (HPV)-related (HPV+) and HPV-unrelated (HPV-) oropharyngeal cancer (OPC).


All p16-confirmed HPV+ and HPV- OPC cases treated with chemoradiotherapy from 2000 to 2010 were included. Overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were compared for high and low CNCs, CMCs, and CLCs (dichotomized by median values). A multivariate analysis (MVA) confirmed their prognostic value in HPV+ and HPV- tumors, respectively.


Five hundred ten HPV+ OPC cases and 192 HPV- OPC cases were included. The HPV+ cohort had lower CNC and CMC values but a CLC similar to that of the HPV- patients (P < .01). The median follow-up was 4.8 years. In the HPV+ cohort, a high CNC or CMC correlated with reduced OS and RFS in comparison with a low CNC or CMC (P < .01 for all), but no difference was evident in OS (P = .30) or RFS (P = .10) with the CLC. MVA confirmed that a higher CNC or CMC independently predicted lower OS (hazard ratio [HR] for CNC, 1.14, P < .01; HR for CMC, 2.95, P < .01) and lower RFS (HR for CNC, 1.11, P < .01; HR for CMC, 3.39, P < .01), whereas a higher CLC was associated with higher RFS (HR, 0.66, P = .03) and marginally higher OS (HR, 0.80, P = .08). In the HPV- cohort, CNC, CMC, and CLC were not predictive of OS (P = .16, P = .86, and P = .14) or RFS (P = .61, P = .59, and P = .62).


This relatively large cohort study demonstrates that a high CNC and a high CMC independently predict inferior OS and RFS, whereas a high CLC predicts better RFS and marginally better OS in HPV+ OPC patients. This association was not apparent in HPV- patients.


human papillomavirus (HPV); lymphocytes; monocytes; neutrophils; oropharyngeal cancer; outcomes

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center