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Preoperative Neutrophil-Lymphocyte and Lymphocyte-Monocyte Ratios Reflect Immune Cell Population Rearrangement in Resectable Pancreatic Cancer

Marek Sierzega PhD, Marzena Lenart PhD, Magdalena Rutkowska PhD, Marta Surman PhD, Bozenna Mytar MSc, Andrzej Matyja PhD, Maciej Siedlar PhD, Jan Kulig PhD
Pancreatic Tumors
Volume 24, Issue 3 / March , 2017



Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), and lymphocyte-monocyte ratio (LMR) may serve as a simple index of the immune function. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic significance of NLR, PLR, and LMR in patients with resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and to verify whether such biomarkers are associated with changes in populations of lymphoid cells.


The prognostic implications of blood count parameters were evaluated in a retrospective cohort of 442 subjects undergoing pancreatic resections for PDAC. Subpopulations of lymphocytes and monocytes in peripheral blood were identified by FACS in a prospective cohort of 54 patients.


In the univariate analysis, NLR < 5 and LMR ≥ 3 were associated with significantly longer median survival of 25.7 vs 12.6 months and 29.2 vs 13.1 months, respectively. PLR did not influence survival. The Cox proportional hazards model showed that high NLR (HR 1.66, 95 % CI 1.12 to 2.46, P = 0.012) and low LMR (HR 1.65, 95 % CI 1.06 to 2.58, P = 0.026) were independent predictors of poor prognosis. NLR ≥ 5 and LMR < 3 correlated with an approximately twofold decrease in counts of helper and cytotoxic T cells, B cells, and NK cells. High NLR was also accompanied with increased neutrophil counts, while low LMR showed increased numbers of monocytes, mostly classical.


NLR and LMR may carry important prognostic information for patients with resected PDAC. The unfavorable prognosis likely correlates with reduced numbers of immune cells effective against the tumor and increased populations of cells involved in immune suppression.

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