Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Surg. 2014 Nov 18;14:94. doi: 10.1186/1471-2482-14-94.

Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio predicts pathologic tumor response and survival after preoperative chemoradiation for rectal cancer.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, 162 Ilsan-dong, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do (220-701), Korea.



Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) reflects the balance between pro- and anti-tumor immune activities. We evaluated whether NLR is associated with pathologic tumor response and prognosis in rectal cancer patients that underwent preoperative chemoradiaton therapy (CRT) with surgery.


One hundred two patients with rectal cancer that were treated by preoperative CRT followed by surgery were enrolled. A total of 50.4 GY of radiation and 5-FU-based chemotherapy were delivered. An NLR ≥ 3 was considered to be elevated. Pathologic tumor response based on ypTNM stage was categorized into two groups, good response (n = 35, pathologic complete response and ypTNM I) and poor response groups (n = 67, ypTNM II, III, and IV).


Twenty-five patients (24.5%) had elevated NLR. Multivariate analysis showed that an elevated CEA level (p = 0.001), larger tumor (p = 0.03), and elevated NLR (p = 0.04) were significant predictors for a poor response. Poor pathological tumor response and elevated NLR were risk factors for cancer-specific and recurrence-free survivals.


An elevated NLR before CRT can be used as predictors for poor tumor response and unfavorable prognostic factors. Dominant pro-tumor activities of neutrophils or reduced anti-tumor immune response by lymphocytes, as determined by NLR, may have a impact on poor tumor response and unfavorable prognosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center