Background Lymphocyte/C-reactive protein (CRP) ratio (LCR), is a promising prognostic factor that can reflect tumor inflammation and systemic patient condition. The aim of this study was to investigate whether preoperative LCR can be a prognostic factor for post-surgical outcomes among patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (IHCC). We also investigated the relationship between LCR and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) to clarify whether systemic host immune parameters reflect local tumor immunity.
Methods We enrolled 45 patients who had undergone hepatectomy for IHCC. Patients were divided into low LCR and high LCR groups, according to reactive operating characteristic curve (Cut-off value: 8780). We analyzed their overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) with respect to LCR and other clinicopathological factors. We also investigated stromal TILs and numbers of CD8+ TILs in surgical specimens, and the relationship between LCR and TILs.
Results Twenty-one patients (46.7%) were associated with low LCR. Low LCR was significantly correlated with older age, high CRP and advanced disease stage, and was a prognostic factor for OS and DFS. And multivariate analysis revealed that low LCR was an independent prognostic factor for worse OS (HR: 2.81 P<0.04). Regarding the relationship between LCR and local tumor immunity, while LCR and levels for stromal TILs were significantly related, LCR and levels for CD8+ TILs were significantly related.
Conclusions Preoperative LCR levels could predict the post-surgical prognosis of patients with IHCC, and reflected numbers of intra-tumoral CD8+ TILs.
Trial registration This study was approved by Tokushima University Hospital ethics committee and with the approval of corresponding regulatory agencies, and all the experiments were carried out in accordance with the approved guidelines (Tokushima Clinical Trial Management System Number; 3215). All the patients involved in this study signed informed consent forms and agreed to participate.