Pretreatment Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio as a Prognostic Marker for the Outcome of HPV-Positive and HPV-Negative Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Abstract

The incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) has increased in the past decades due to carcinogenic HPV infection. As this patient group suffers from considerable mortality and treatment morbidity it is important to improve prognostic strategies in OPSCC. Inflammation plays a key role in cancer and the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in blood has been suggested as a prognostic factor for OPSCC. This study aimed to investigate the prognostic impact of NLR on overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) in a retrospective cohort of 1370 patients. Included patients had pretreatment neutrophil and lymphocyte counts available, as well as a known HPV status. Patients were treated with curative intent according to Danish national guidelines. We stratified patients in groups by NLR < 2, NLR 2−4, or NLR > 4 and analyzed the influence of the NLR tertile on OS and RFS. Kaplan−Meier curves illustrated survival probability in OS and RFS in the general cohort and were stratified by HPV status. We found that an increasing NLR was associated with inferior OS (HR = 1.5 for NLR > 4) and RFS (HR = 1.6 for NLR 2−4; HR = 1.8 for NLR > 4) in multivariable analysis. The Kaplan−Meier curves displayed inferior OS and RFS with an increasing NLR for both HPV+ and HPV− patients. In conclusion, we showed that an increasing NLR is prognostic for a worse outcome of OPSCC independently of HPV status. There are possible uses of NLR in prognostication and treatment de-escalation although further studies are warranted to determine the clinical utility.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer198
TidsskriftViruses
Vol/bind15
Udgave nummer1
ISSN1999-4915
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 10 jan. 2023

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