Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio predicts progression and recurrence of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer

Roy Mano*, Jack Baniel, Ohad Shoshany, David Margel, Tomer Bar-On, Ofer Nativ, Jacob Rubinstein, Sarel Halachmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) predicts advanced stage disease and decreased survival in patients undergoing radical cystectomy for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. The predictive value of NLR in non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) has not been well studied. We aimed to evaluate whether NLR predicted disease recurrence and progression in NMIBC. Materials and methods: The medical records of 122 consecutive, newly diagnosed, patients with NMIBC treated with transurethral tumor resection, between the years 2003 and 2010, were reviewed. Patients with hematological malignancies (n = 4) and without preoperative NLR (n = 11) were excluded. Cutoff points for NLR were tested separately for recurrence and progression using the standardized cutoff-finder algorithm. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were used to evaluate the association between NLR and disease recurrence and progression. Results: The study cohort comprised 91 men and 16 women at a median age of 68 years. The median NLR was 2.85 (interquartile range: 2-3.9). In total, 68 patients (64%) had an NLR>2.41. Patients with NLR>2.41 were more often men (P = 0.02) and had T1 category tumors (P = 0.034). Analyzed as a continuous variable, higher NLR showed a weak positive association with high tumor grade (R = 0.21, P = 0.028).The median follow-up for patients without disease recurrence was 40 months (interquartile range: 23-51). The estimated 3-year progression-free survival rate in patients with an NLR>2.41 was 61%, compared with 84% in patients with an NLR≤2.41 (P = 0.004). On multivariate analysis, an NLR>2.41 (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.52; 95% CI: 1.33-9.33; P = 0.012) and high-risk tumors compared with low-intermediate-risk tumors (HR = 4.83; 95% CI: 1.31-17.77; P = 0.018), as defined by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer risk tables, were associated with disease progression. An NLR>2.43 (HR = 1.75; 95% CI: 1.05-2.92; P = 0.032) and treatment with intravesical instillations (HR = 0.49; 95% CI: 0.28-0.85; P = 0.011) were associated with disease recurrence on multivariate analysis. Conclusions: NLR is an independent predictor of disease progression and recurrence in patients with NMIBC without hematological malignancies. Prospective studies are required to validate the role of NLR as a prognostic marker in NMIBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67.e1-67.e7
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Bladder tumor
  • Disease progression
  • Lymphocyte
  • Neutrophil
  • Recurrence


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