Background: Evidence has accumulated that chronic inflammation play a critical role in carcinogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis. To date, several inflammatory biomarkers are considered as potential prognostic factors in various cancers. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prognostic significance of the pretreatment levels of inflammatory biomarkers in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC).
Methods: A total of 48 patients with p16-positive (n=28) and p16-negative (n=20) OPSCC was finally included. The neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte and platelet counts recorded before treatment were initiated, then lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio (LMR), neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) were calculated. These inflammatory biomarkers and clinical parameters including age, differentiation, T-stage, N-stage, TNM-stage, smoking, and drinking were compared with progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).
Results: Elevated monocyte count, history of smoking and drinking were significantly associated with poor PFS; in addition, elevated monocyte count was an independent prognostic factor for PFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.569, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.231-10.344). Elevated monocyte count and low LMR were significantly associated with poor OS. Moreover, low LMR was an independent prognostic factor for OS (HR = 5.292, CI = 1.096-25.553). Of note, monocyte count and LMR were associated with prognosis more intensively in patients with p16-negative OPSCC.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that elevated monocyte count and low LMR might be useful biomarkers for predicting prognosis of OPSCC, especially in patients with p16-negative OPSCC.