Baseline neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is associated with outcome of patients treated with BRAF inhibitors

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Purpose: The aim of this study is to verify if baseline hematological markers, in patients with advanced melanoma receiving BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi)-based therapies, are independently associated with progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 90 patients with metastatic melanoma harboring BRAF V600 mutation, who received treatment with either BRAFi alone or combined with a MEK inhibitor (MEKi) at the recommended dosages. Study population included 28 women and 62 men. Median age was 53 years. Seventy-three (82%) patients presented with M1c disease, 49 (56%) had elevated LDH and 54 (60%) had three or more metastatic sites. Results: The median PFS was 9.1 and 3.5 months, respectively, for patients with baseline NLR < 5 and NLR ≥ 5, while median OS was 17.2 and 5.5 months, respectively, for patients with NLR < 5 and NLR ≥ 5. Multivariate analysis confirmed that baseline NLR < 5 was significantly associated with half risk of relapse (HR = 0.49; 95% CI = 0.28–0.85; p = 0.01) and half risk of death (HR = 0.46; 95% CI = 0.23–0.76; p = 0.004), independent of age, sex, stage, LDH > 2xULN, previous treatments, concomitant use of steroids and type of therapy. In patients with LDH ≥ ULN, NLR < 5 remained significantly and independently associated with improved PFS (HR = 0.28; 95% CI = 0.13–0.62; p = 0.002,) and OS (HR = 0.23; 95% CI = 0.10–0.55; p = 0.001). Conclusions: These biomarkers are easily reproducible, affordable and costless and NLR could help to identify patients who have the best benefit from BRAF inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1818-1824
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Translational Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Metastatic melanoma
  • NLR
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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