Research Papers:

Systemic and intratumoral balances between monocytes/macrophages and lymphocytes predict prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma patients after surgery

Rui Liao, Ning Jiang, Zhuo-Wei Tang, De-Wei Li, Ping Huang, Shi-Qiao Luo, Jian-Ping Gong and Cheng-You Du _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:30951-30961. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9049

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Rui Liao1,*, Ning Jiang1,*, Zhuo-Wei Tang2,*, De-Wei Li1, Ping Huang1, Shi-Qiao Luo1, Jian-Ping Gong3,4, Cheng-You Du1

1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, China

2Department of General Surgery, Mianyang Central Hospital, Mianyang 621000, China

3Chongqing Key Laboratory of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400010, China

4Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400010, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Cheng-You Du, email: [email protected]

Jian-Ping Gong, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, neutrophil, monocyte, macrophage, lymphocyte

Received: December 09, 2015     Accepted: March 31, 2016     Published: April 27, 2016


The peripheral neutrophil-monocyte/lymphocyte ratio (NMLR) and intratumoral CD16/CD8 ratio (iMLR) may have prognostic value in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients after curative resection. In this study, the circulating NMLR was examined 387 HCC patients who underwent curative resection between 2006 and 2009. Intratumoral levels of CD4, CD8, CD16 and CD68 and the CD16/CD8 ratio were determined immunohistologically. The prognostic values of clinicopathological parameters, including NMLR and iMLR, were evaluated. NMLR was predictive of overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS) when patients in the training cohort (n = 256) were separated into high (> 1.2) and low (≤ 1.2) NMLR subgroups. NMLR was also an independent predictor of low alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) expression and early recurrence. High NMLR was associated with increases in clinicopathological variables, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT), tumor number, tumor size and BCLC stage. In addition, iMLR strongly predicted risk of recurrence and patient survival, and was positively correlated with NMLR. These findings were confirmed in an independent validation patient cohort (n = 131). Peripheral NMLR and iMLR may thus be useful prognostic markers, and anti-inflammatory treatment may be beneficial in HCC patients after curative hepatectomy.

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