The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio: A narrative review

S.S. Faria, P.C. Fernandes, M.J.B. Silva, V.C. Lima, W. Fontes, R. Freitas, A.K. Eterovic, P. Forget* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Citations (Scopus)
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Cellular-mediated inflammatory response, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and monocytes are increasingly being recognised as having an important role in tumorigenesis and carcinogenesis. In this context, studies have suggested that the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) can be used as an independent prognostic factor in a variety of cancers. Particularly in breast cancer, several studies have shown that a high NLR is associated with shorter survival. Because the NLR can be easily determined from the full blood count, it could potentially provide a simple and inexpensive test cancer prognosis. This review addresses the possibilities and limitations of using the NLR as a clinical tool for risk stratification helpful for individual treatment of breast cancer patients. The potential underlying phenomena and some perspectives are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number702
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2016


  • breast cancer
  • inflammation
  • neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio
  • prognosis


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