The peripheral blood neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio is a prognostic predictor for survival of EGFR-mutant nonsmall cell lung cancer patients treated with EGFR-TKIs

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Abstract

Epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) are the standard first-line treatment for EGFR-mutant nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, studies have reported that not all NSCLC patients harboring kinase domain mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) show significant clinical benefits from EGFR-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Therefore, it is necessary to establish feasible biomarkers to predict the prognosis of EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients treated with EGFR-TKIs. This study aimed to determine biomarkers using inflammatory parameters from complete blood counts to predict the prognosis of EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients treated with EGFR-TKIs.

We retrospectively investigated 127 stage IIIB/IV NSCLC patients with activating EGFR mutations who were treated with EGFR-TKIs. We used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to determine the optimal cut-off for the inflammatory markers as prognostic factors. Additionally, univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify prognostic factors for progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients treated with EGFR-TKIs.

The receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated that the lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio (LMR) and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) cut-off values were 3.37 and 2.90, respectively. The univariate analysis showed that a high LMR (>3.37) and low NLR (≤2.90) were significantly correlated with long-term PFS and OS (LMR, P = .007; NLR, P < .001). The multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that only low NLR was an independent prognostic factor for long-term PFS and OS (PFS, HR = 0.573, 95% CI: 0.340–0.964, P = .036; OS, HR = 0.491, 95% CI: 0.262–0.920, P = .026).

The data show that a low NLR was a good prognostic factor in EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients receiving EGFR-TKIs treatment. Moreover, the NLR measurement has better prognostic value than LMR.

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