BACKGROUND: Several studies have reported that neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) can predict survival in esophageal and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, as it reflects systemic inflammation. Hence, we aimed to determine whether baseline NLR holds prognostic value for esophageal adenocarcinoma patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (nCT) followed by surgery. METHODS: We studied the data of 139 patients that received nCT before undergoing esophagectomy with curative intent, all identified from a prospectively maintained database (1998-2016). Pretreatment hematology reports were used to calculate the baseline NLR. A receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC-curve) was plotted to determine an optimal cutoff value. NLR quartiles were used to display possible differences between groups in relation to overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) using the method of Kaplan-Meier. Cox regression analysis was performed to assess the prognostic value of NLR. RESULTS: The median OS and DFS times were 46 months (interquartile range [IQR]: 19-166) and 30 months (IQR: 13-166], respectively, for the entire cohort. The ROC-curve showed that NLR has no discriminating power for survival status (area under the curve = 0.462) and therefore no optimal cutoff value could be determined. There were no statistically significant differences in median OS times for NLR quartiles: 65 (Q1), 32 (Q2), 45 (Q3), and 46 months (Q4) (P = 0.926). Similarly, DFS showed no difference between quartile groups, with median survival times of 27 (Q1), 19 (Q2), 36 (Q3), and 20 months (Q4) (P = 0.973). Age, pN, pM, and resection margin were independent prognostic factors for both OS and DFS. On the contrary, NLR was not associated with OS or DFS in univariable and multivariable analyses. CONCLUSION: Baseline NLR holds no prognostic value for esophageal and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma patients treated with nCT in this study, in contrast to other recently published papers. This result questions the validity of NLR as a reliable prognostic indicator and its clinical usefulness in these patients.

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Keywords adenocarcinoma, esophageal carcinoma, lymphocytes, neutrophils, prognostic markers
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Journal Diseases of the Esophagus
van Hootegem, S.J.M. (S. J.M.), Smithers, B.M, Gotley, D.C, Brosda, S. (S.), Thomson, I.G. (I. G.), Thomas, J.M. (J. M.), … Barbour, A.P. (A. P.). (2020). Baseline neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio holds no prognostic value for esophageal and junctional adenocarcinoma in patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Diseases of the Esophagus, 33(6). doi:10.1093/dote/doz082