PloS one 2017 02 2312(2) e0170605 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0170605
The neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a new prognostic predictor for patients with liver cancer. The association of NLR and T lymphocytes with the pathogenesis and progression of liver cancer is poorly understood.
Seventy-three patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated primary liver cancer (HBV-PLC), 50 patients with HBV-associated liver cirrhosis (HBV-LC) and 37 patients with chronic HBV infection (CHB) were prospectively enrolled from July 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014 in Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University (Beijing, China). The NLR, proportions and concentrations of neutrophils and lymphocytes, concentration of subpopulations of lymphocytes, and the expression of CD31 (index for recent thymic output) and HLA-DR (index for activation of T lymphocytes) of T cells in the peripheral blood samples of the patients were assessed and statistically compared between different groups.
The NLR was significantly increased from patients with CHB, those with HBV-LC to those with HBV-PLC (P<0.05), along with significant increase of neutrophils and decrease of lymphocytes in the same way (P<0.05). The concentrations of T lymphocytes, natural killer cells, B cells, CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells were decreased from patients with CHB, those with HBV-LC to those with HBV-PLC, and were significantly reduced in patients with HBV-PLC compared with those in patients with CHB (P<0.05). The CD31 and HLA-DR expression of naive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was significantly decreased and increased, respectively in patients with HBV-PLC compared with that in patients with CHB. CONCLUSIONS
Elevated NLR, resulted from the increase of neutrophils and decrease of lymphocytes, is positively associated with the pathogenesis and progression of HBV-PLC. The reduced thymic output and hyperactivation of T lymphocytes may contribute to the decrease of T lymphocytes, which could be also related to the pathogenesis of HBV-PLC.