The following article features coverage from the IASLC North America Conference on Lung Cancer 2019 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

As of yet, there are no proven predictors of survival outcomes for patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) — a disease that has poor outcomes and low 5-year survival rates. Researchers at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2019 North America Conference on Lung Cancer (NACLC 2019) in Chicago, Illinois, presented findings that indicated the ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes (NLR) in a patient’s bloodstream prior to treatment could predict overall survival.1 NLR, which is linked to inflammation, has previously been associated with disease progression in other types of cancer.2,3

The inflammatory response plays “an important role in cancer initiation, progression, and prognosis,” wrote the abstract authors, who were led by Tithi Biswas, MD, of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. That has revived interest in identifying biomarkers associated with inflammation such as NLR, to discover whether a predictor of survival could be found, they wrote.

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Dr Biswas and colleagues included 586 patients with stage III nonsquamous NSCLC in the study and assessed neutrophil and lymphocyte levels before and during chemoradiation therapy. They found that NLR before treatment was significantly associated with overall survival and progression-free survival.

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The results demonstrate “pre-treatment NLR to be a significant predictor of [overall survival] and a trend towards [progression-free survival],” the authors wrote, adding that nadir NLR values during treatment also was a significant predictor for overall survival.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the IASLC NACLC 2019 meeting by visiting the conference page.


  1. Biswas T, Kang K, Bajor D, et al. Prognostic role of NLR in stage III NSCLC undergoing chemoradiation: secondary analysis of PROCLAIM trial. Presented at: International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 2019 North America Conference on Lung Cancer (NACLC 2019); October 10-12, 2019: Chicago, Illinois. Abstract OA01.03.
  2. Xue P, Kanai M, Mori Y, et al. Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio for predicting palliative chemotherapy outcomes in advanced pancreatic cancer patients. Cancer Med. 2014;3:406–415.
  3. Wang J, Jia Y, Wang N, et al. The clinical significance of tumor-infiltrating neutrophils and neutrophil-to-CD8+ lymphocyte ratio in patients with resectable esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. J Transl Med. 2014;12:7.