Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio associated with mortality in early hepatocellular carcinoma patients after radiofrequency ablation

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Background and Aim:|Increasing evidence correlates the presence of systemic inflammation with poor survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We studied whether peripheral blood neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), a marker of systemic inflammatory response, would be a useful predictor for outcome in patients with early HCC undergoing radiofrequency ablation (RFA).Methods:|A total of 158 patients with early HCC underwent RFA. Potential prognostic factors such as age, gender, tumoral characteristics, Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) class and NLR were analyzed. The study endpoints were overall survival (OS) and new recurrence.Results:|We modeled NLR as a continuous explanatory variable in regression analyses. Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor size (P = 0.005) and high baseline NLR (P = 0.001) were independent explanatory variables associated with unfavorable OS. Regarding new recurrence, multivariate analysis showed that CTP class B (P = 0.002), α-fetoprotein > 400 ng/mL (P = 0.030), tumor size (P = 0.002) and tumor multiplicity (P = 0.013) were found to be worse prognosticators, but not baseline NLR. In a subset analysis of 140 patients whose post-RFA NLR data at first follow-up visit were available, multivariate analysis revealed that high post-RFA NLR was identified as an independent covariate, not only for OS (P = 0.006), but for new recurrence (P = 0.010) as well.Conclusions:|High baseline NLR was associated with worse OS for patients with early HCC; post-RFA NLR predicted not only OS, but also tumor recurrence.

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