Background: Changes in immune cell and inflammation-associated protein levels, either independently or in combination, are commonly used as prognostic factors for various cancers. The ratio of lymphocyte count to C-reactive protein concentration (lymphocyte–CRP ratio; LCR) is a recently identified prognostic marker for several cancers. Here, we examined the prognostic value of LCR and its relationship to various aspects of the tumor immune microenvironment in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective study of patients who underwent surgical resection for ICC between 1998 and 2018. Patients were dichotomized into high- and low-LCR status groups, and the relationships between LCR status, prognosis, and other clinicopathological characteristics were analyzed. Tumor-infiltrating CD8+ and FOXP3s+ lymphocytes and tumor expression of CD34 and programmed death-ligand 1 were evaluated by immunohistochemical staining of resected tumors. Results: A total of 78 ICC patients were enrolled and assigned to the high (n = 44)- and low (n = 34)-LCR groups. Compared with the high-LCR group, patients in the low-LCR group had a significantly higher serum CA19-9 level (median 20.6 vs. 77.3 U/mL, P = 0.0017) and larger tumor size (median 3.5 vs. 5.5 cm, P = 0.0018). LCR correlated significantly with tumor microvessel density (r = 0.369, P = 0.0009) and CD8+ T lymphocyte infiltration (r = 0.377, P = 0.0007) but not with FOXP3+ T lymphocyte infiltration or tumor PD-L1 expression. Low-LCR status was significantly associated with worse overall survival by multivariate analysis (P = 0.0348). Conclusions: Low-LCR status may reflect a poor anti-tumor immune response and predict worse outcomes in ICC patients.
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