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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2017

Prognostic impact of a new score using neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios in the serum and malignant pleural effusion in lung cancer patients

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Yong Seok Lee, Hae-Seong Nam, Jun Hyeok Lim, Jung Soo Kim, Yeonsook Moon, Jae Hwa Cho, Jeong-Seon Ryu, Seung Min Kwak, Hong Lyeol Lee
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12885-017-3550-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Various studies have reported that the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio in the serum (sNLR) may serve as a cost-effective and useful prognostic factor in patients with various cancer types. However, no study has reported the prognostic impact of the NLR in malignant pleural effusion (MPE). To address this gap, we investigated the clinical impact of NLR as a prognostic factor in MPE (mNLR) and a new scoring system that use NLRs in the serum and MPE (smNLR score) in lung cancer patients.


We retrospectively reviewed all of the patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer and who presented with pleural effusion. To maintain the quality of the study, only patients with malignant cells in the pleural fluid or tissue were included. The patients were classified into three smNLR score groups, and clinical variables were investigated for their correlation with survival.


In all, 158 patients were classified into three smNLR score groups as follows: 84 (53.2%) had a score of 0, 58 (36.7%) had a score of 1, and 16 (10.1%) had a score of 2. In a univariate analysis, high sNLR, mNLR, and increments of the smNLR score were associated with shorter overall survival (p < 0.001, p = 0.004, and p < 0.001, respectively); moreover, age, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS), histology, M stage, hemoglobin level, albumin level, and calcium level were significant prognostic factors. A multivariable analysis confirmed that ECOG PS (p < 0.001), histology (p = 0.001), and smNLR score (p < 0.012) were independent predictors of overall survival.


The new smNLR score is a useful and cost-effective prognostic factor in lung cancer patients with MPE. Although further studies are required to generalize our results, this information will benefit clinicians and patients in determining the most appropriate therapy for patients with MPE.
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