Predicting immunotherapy outcomes under therapy in patients with advanced NSCLC using dNLR and its early dynamics

Laura Mezquita, Isabel Preeshagul, Edouard Auclin, Diana Saravia, Lizza Hendriks, Hira Rizvi, Wungki Park, Ernest Nadal, Patricia Martin-Romano, Jose C. Ruffinelli, Santiago Ponce, Clarisse Audigier-Valette, Simona Carnio, Felix Blanc-Durand, Paolo Bironzo, Fabrizio Tabbo, Maria Lucia Reale, Silvia Novello, Matthew D. Hellmann, Peter SawanJeffrey Girshman, Andrew J. Plodkowski, Gerard Zalcman, Margarita Majem, Melinda Charrier, Marie Naigeon, Caroline Rossoni, AnnaPaola Mariniello, Luis Paz-Ares, Anne Marie Dingemans, David Planchard, Nathalie Cozic, Lydie Cassard, Gilberto Lopes, Nathalie Chaput, Kathryn Arbour, Benjamin Besse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: dNLR at the baseline (B), defined by neutrophils/[leucocytes-neutrophils], correlates with immune-checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) outcomes in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (aNSCLC). However, dNLR is dynamic under therapy and its longitudinal assessment may provide data predicting efficacy. We sought to examine the impact of dNLR dynamics on ICI efficacy and understand its biological significance.

Patients and methods: aNSCLC patients receiving ICI at 17 EU/US centres were included [Feb/13-Jun/18]. As chemotherapy-only group was evaluated (NCT02105168). dNLR was determined at (B) and at cycle2 (C2) [dNLR

Results: About 1485 patients treatment with ICI were analysed. In ICI-treated patients, high dNLR (B) (similar to 1/3rd) associated with worse progression-free (PFS)/overall survival (OS) (HR 1.56/HR 2.02, P < 0.0001) but not with chemotherapy alone (N = 173). High dNLR at C2 was associated with worse PFS/OS (HR 1.64/HR 2.15, P < 0.0001). When dNLR at both time points were considered together, those with persistently high dNLR (23%) had poor survival (mOS = 5 months (mo)), compared with high dNLR at one time point (22%; mOS = 9.2mo) and persistently low dNLR (55%; mOS = 18.6mo) (P < 0.0001). The dNLR impact remained significant after PD-L1 adjustment. By cytometry, high rate of immature neutrophils (B) (30/57) correlated with poor PFS/OS (P = 0.04; P = 0.0007), with a 12-week death rate of 49%.

Conclusion: The dNLR (B) and its dynamics (C2) under ICI associate with ICI outcomes in aNSCLC. Persistently high dNLR (B+C2) correlated with early ICI failure. Immature neutrophils may be a key subpopulation on ICI resistance. (C) 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-220
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • dNLR
  • Neutrophils
  • Immunotherapy
  • Biomarker
  • CELL

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