BACKGROUND: Risk stratification is a major challenge in bladder cancer (BC), and a biomarker is needed. Multiple studies have reported the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) as a promising candidate; however, these analyses have methodological limitations. Therefore, the authors performed a category B biomarker study to test whether NLR is prognostic for overall survival (OS) after curative treatment or is predictive for the survival benefit from neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). METHODS: This study is an unplanned secondary analysis of SWOG 8710, a randomized phase 3 trial that assessed cystectomy with or without NAC in 317 patients with muscle-invasive BC. NLR was calculated from prospectively collected complete blood counts. For the prognostic analysis, 230 patients were identified; for the predictive analysis, 263 were identified. NLR was evaluated with proportional hazards models including prespecified factors (age, sex, T-stage, lymphovascular invasion, and treatment arm). RESULTS: With a median follow-up of 18.6 years, there were 172 and 205 deaths in the prognostic and predictive cohorts, respectively. In a multivariable analysis, NLR was not prognostic for OS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98-1.11; P =.24). Furthermore, NLR did not predict for the OS benefit from NAC (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.90-1.14; P =.86). Factors associated with worse OS were older age (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.04-1.07; P <.001) and surgery without NAC (HR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.03-1.88; P =.03). CONCLUSIONS: This is the first analysis of NLR in BC to use prospectively collected clinical trial data. In contrast to previous studies, it suggests that NLR is neither a prognostic nor predictive biomarker for OS in muscle-invasive BC. Cancer 2017;123:794–801.
- bladder cancer
- neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR)