Elevated preoperative neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio predicts risk of recurrence following curative resection for stage IIA colon cancer
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Background and Objectives
Adjuvant chemotherapy for stage II colon cancer remains controversial but may be considered for patients with high-risk features. Recent studies have shown that elevated neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a worse prognostic factor and a predictor of response to chemotherapy in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether NLR predicts risk of recurrence in patients with stage IIA colon cancer undergoing curative resection without adjuvant chemotherapy.
We retrospectively reviewed 141 consecutive patients with stage IIA colon cancer treated with curative surgery alone from 2002 to 2006. NLR, as well as demographics, clinical, histopathologic, and laboratory data were analyzed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify prognostic factors associated with recurrent-free survival (RFS).
Cox’s regression analysis demonstrated that elevated NLR (>4) (hazard ratio, 4.88; P < 0.01) and less lymph node sampling (<15 lymph nodes; hazard ratio, 3.80; P < 0.05) were adverse prognostic factors for RFS. The 5-year RFS was 91.4% (95% CI, 88.6–94.2%) for patients with normal NLR and 63.8% (51.1–76.3%) for patients with elevated NLR. The 5-year RFS for patients with 0, 1, and 2 of the identified risk factors was 95.1%, 87.4%, and 33.3%, respectively (P < 0.001).
Elevated preoperative NLR is an independent predictor of worse RFS for patients with stage IIA colon cancer and a potential biomarker to identify candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy.