Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio: Prognostic indicator for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Nicholas Rosculet, Xian Chong Zhou, Patrick Ha, Mei Tang, Marshall A. Levine, Geoffrey Neuner, Joseph Califano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has prognostic significance for many cancers, with higher values correlating with poor outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine the prognostic significance of this inflammatory marker for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Methods: Univariate logistic regression and multivariate Cox regression analyses were performed on a retrospective cohort of 123 patients treated with primary chemoradiotherapy. Results: The NLR is an indicator of both recurrence-free and overall survival, but the NLR does not have independent prognostic significance when the favorable prognostic influence of human papillomavirus (HPV) status is incorporated into multivariate models. Conclusion: The interaction between NLR and HPV status suggests that HPV status may be a determining factor in the favorable prognosis associated with a decreased NLR in HNSCC; these findings also suggest that HPV status may interact with the prognostic associations of indicators of systemic inflammation in HNSCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-667
Number of pages6
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • inflammatory markers
  • neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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