In a nutshell
This study looked at numbers of white blood cells in patients with melanoma, and how this was related to survival. The authors found that there was an association between the numbers of certain white blood cells and survival from melanoma, specifically, low ratios of neutrophils and platelets to lymphocytes resulted in lower overall survival.
This study looked at the numbers of three different types of white blood cell (neutrophils, lymphocytes and platelets) in patients with melanoma. The neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and the platelet to lymphocyte ratio (PLR) were studied. Each of these ratios has previously been found to be associated with survival outcomes in many types of cancer.
Methods & findings
This study consisted of 1351 patients with melanoma skin cancer. Each patient had a blood test, and the ratios of the white blood cells were calculated. The patients were followed for 3.5 years on average.
The authors concluded that a low NLR and a low PLR were associated with lower levels of survival overall. Fifty percent of patients who had lower ratios plus spread of cancer to the lymph nodes (immune glands) survived 5 years after treatment. Overall, patients with a low NLR were twice as likely to die over ten years compared to patients with a higher NLR. Patients with a low PLR were twice as likely to die in a ten year period compared to patients with a higher PLR.
The bottom line
The study concluded that low numbers and ratios of certain white blood cells were linked with poor survival outcomes in patients with melanoma.
The fine print
This was a large study, however not a lot of additional data was collected. There may be other factors that influence the results found in this study.
Published By :
Annals of Surgical Oncology
Jul 31, 2018