Prognostic and predictive role of neutrophil/ lymphocytes ratio in metastatic colorectal cancer: A retrospective analysis of the TRIBE study by GONO

E. Dell'Aquila, C. Cremolini, T. Zeppola, S. Lonardi, F. Bergamo, G. Masi, M. Stellato, F. Marmorino, M. Schirripa, F. Urbano, M. Ronzoni, G. Tomasello, A. Zaniboni, P. Racca, A. Buonadonna, G. Allegrini, E. Fea, S. Di Donato, S. Chiara, G. ToniniD. Tomcikova, L. Boni, A. Falcone, D. Santini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR), defined as absolute neutrophils count divided by absolute lymphocytes count, has been reported as poor prognostic factor in several neoplastic diseases but only a few data are available about unresectable metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients (pts). The aim of our study was to evaluate the prognostic and predictive role of NLR in the TRIBE trial. Patients and methods: Pts enrolled in TRIBE trial were included. TRIBE is a multicentre phase III trial randomizing unresectable and previously untreated mCRC pts to receive FOLFOXIRI or FOLFIRI plus bevacizumab. A cut-off value of 3 was adopted to discriminate pts with low (NLR < 3) versus high (NLR≥3) NLR, as primary analysis. As secondary analysis, NLR was treated as an ordinal variable with three levels based on terciles distribution. Results: NLR at baseline was available for 413 patients. After multiple imputation at univariate analysis, patients with high NLR had significantly shorter progression-free survival (PFS) [hazard ratio (HR) 1.27 (95% CI 1.05-1.55), P=0.017] and overall survival (OS) [HR 1.56 (95% CI 1.25-1.95), P < 0.001] than patients with low NLR. In the multivariable model, NLR retained a significant association with OS [HR 1.44 (95% CI 1.14-1.82), P=0.014] but not with PFS [HR 1.18 (95% CI 0.95-1.46), P=0.375]. No interaction effect between treatment arm and NLR was evident in terms of PFS (P for interaction=0.536) or OS (P for interaction=0.831). Patients with low [HR 0.84 (95% CI 0.64-1.08)] and high [HR 0.73 (95% CI 0.54-0.97)] NLR achieved similar PFS benefit from the triplet and consistent results were obtained in terms of OS [HR 0.83 (95% CI 0.62-1.12) for low NLR; HR 0.82 (95% CI 0.59-1.12) for high NLR]. Conclusion: This study confirmed the prognostic role of NLR in mCRC pts treated with bevacizumab plus chemotherapy in the first line, showing the worse prognosis of pts with high NLR. The advantage of the triplet is independent of NLR at baseline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)924-930
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Cancer inflammation
  • FOLFOXIRI plus bevacizumab
  • Metastatic colorectal cancer
  • Neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio
  • Prognostic factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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