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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

World Journal of Surgical Oncology 1/2019

Association of pre-surgery to pre-radiotherapy lymphocyte counts ratio with disease-free survival in rectal cancer patients receiving neoadjuvant concurrent chemoradiotherapy

World Journal of Surgical Oncology > Ausgabe 1/2019
Hongen Xu, Guangxian You, Minjun Zhang, Tao Song, Haibo Zhang, Jia Yang, Yongshi Jia, Jianming Tang, Xiaodong Liang
Wichtige Hinweise
Hongen Xu, Guangxian You and Minjun Zhang are listed as co-first authors.

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Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer globally and neoadjuvant concurrent chemoradiotherapy (nCRT) and surgery are the standard treatments for locally advanced colorectal carcinoma. This study investigated the association between dynamic changes in absolute lymphocyte counts (ALCs) and disease-free survival (DFS) in rectal cancer patients receiving nCRT and identified factors associated with these changes.


We retrospectively examined 34 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who received nCRT followed by surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy. The association between ALCs and DFS and that between ALCs and downstaging were analyzed and potential clinical- and treatment-related factors related to dynamic changes in ALCs were subsequently evaluated. The patient eligibility criteria were as follows: pathologically confirmed rectal adenocarcinoma, clinical stages II–III, ≥ 18 years of age, and so on. Pre-RTL was defined as ALCs obtained before the initiation of nCRT and pre-SL was defined as ALCs obtained before surgery. We measured pre-SL to pre-RTL ratio (pre-SLR), DFS, and ALCs.


The median ALC declined significantly during nCRT. A lower pre-SLR was associated with poorer DFS with statistical significance in Kaplan–Meier (p = 0.007), univariate regression (hazard ratio [HR] = 6.287, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.374–28.781, p = 0.018), and multivariable regression (HR = 7.347, 95% CI 1.595–33.850, p = 0.011) analyses. Neither patient characteristics nor treatment-related factors were related to downstaging. The pelvic bone marrow (PBM) volume receiving at least 30 Gy (V30) was significantly associated with pre-SLR in the univariate (HR = 5.760, 95% CI 1.317–25.187, p = 0.020) and multivariable (HR = 5.760, 95% CI 1.317–25.187, p = 0.020) regression analyses.


Our study had several limitations. The sample size was small and the study was performed in a selected population, which may limit the generalization of the findings.


Radiotherapy had a profound impact on the change in ALCs. A lower pre-SLR was significantly associated with poorer DFS in rectal cancer patients receiving nCRT. The V30 of PBM was a predictor of pre-SLR.
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