Platinum-based chemotherapy is effective in metastatic triple negative breast cancer (mTNBC), but predictive biomarkers would help identify the best candidates for the treatment. Two sets of parameters—neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR)—have already demonstrated their prognostic prowess in many malignancies, but how well will they do in platinum-treated mTNBC patients? Researchers from Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, in Milan, Italy conducted a retrospective, single-center study to evaluate the association between baseline NLR or PLR and progression-free survival (PFS) in 57 mTNBC patients treated with carboplatin-paclitaxel or carboplatin-gemcitabine between 2007 and 2017, compared with 148 patients with hormone receptor-positive HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer.
Response was assessed every 3 chemotherapy cycles. Among platinum-treated patients, high NLR and PLR were associated with significantly lower PFS. Median PFS was 304 days in patients with NLR < 2.5, and 158 days in those with NLR ≥ 2.5. Progression-free survival was longer in patients with baseline PLR < 200, compared with PLR ≥ 200. The researchers found no significant association between NLR or PLR and the PFS of control patients.
When the same parameters were evaluated before the administration of the third treatment cycle, NLR < 2.5 was still associated with reduced risk of disease progression, although PLR < 200 was not.
In patients with mTNBC, median overall survival was significantly longer in patients with NLR < 2.5 compared with NLR ≥ 2.5. Platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio values were not associated with overall survival. The ratios also appeared to have a generally prognostic role independently from tumor biology.
The hormone receptors for NLR and PLR in multivariable analysis for PFS were similar, and the parameters correlated with each other, the researchers say, suggesting that both NLR and PLR “well reflect the inflammatory/immune contexture in mTNBC, and may be redundant as predictive biomarkers.”
Vernieri C, Mennitto A, Prisciandaro M, et al. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):8703.