Monitoring the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio may be useful for predicting the anticancer effect of nivolumab in recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer

Ryuji Yasumatsu, Takahiro Wakasaki, Kazuki Hashimoto, Koichiro Nakashima, Tomomi Manako, Masahiko Taura, Mioko Matsuo, Takashi Nakagawa

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Predicting the response to treatment with nivolumab and the survival in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains a challenge. We investigated whether or not the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) kinetics could be used to predict the anticancer effect of nivolumab. Patients and Methods: Forty-one patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC who had been treated with nivolumab were retrospectively analyzed. The NLR was calculated using pretreatment blood test results until the end of the treatment. Results: The posttreatment NLR was higher than the pretreatment value in 13 of 17 patients (76%) patients with progressive disease within the first 3 months, whereas the posttreatment NLR was lower than the pretreatment value in 10 of 11 patients (91%) with stable disease or partial response during the follow-up period. Conclusion: Our results indicate that monitoring the NLR may aid in the earlier confirmation of treatment failure in patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC during nivolumab monotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2610-2618
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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