Background: The neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has demonstrated prognostic value in various malignant conditions, including gastric adenocarcinoma. However, chemotherapy may affect NLR.
Objectives: To evaluate the prognostic value of NLR as an accessory decision-making tool in terms of operating patients after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with resectable gastric cancer.
Methods: We collected oncologic, perioperative, and survival data of patients with gastric adenocarcinoma who underwent curative intent gastrectomy and D2 lymphadenectomy between 2009 and 2016. The NLR was calculated from preoperative laboratory tests and classified as high (> 4) and low (≤ 4). The t-test, chi-square, Kaplan-Meier analysis, and Cox multivariate regression models were used to assess associations of clinical, histologic, and hematological variables with survival.
Results: For 124 patients the median follow-up was 23 months (range 1–88). High NLR was associated with greater rate of local complication (r=0.268, P < 0.01). The rate of major complications (Clavien-Dindo ≥ 3) was higher in the high NLR group (28% vs. 9%, P = 0.022). Among the 53 patients who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, those with low NLR had significantly improved disease-free survival (DFS) (49.7 vs. 27.7 months, P = 0.025). Low NLR was not significantly associated with overall survival (mean survival, 51.2 vs. 42.3 months, P = 0.19). Multivariate regression identified NLR group (P = 0.013), male gender (P = 0.04), and body mass index (P = 0.026) as independently associated with DFS.
Conclusions: Among gastric cancer patients planned for curative intent surgery who underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy, NLR may have prognostic value, particularly regarding DFS and postoperative complications.