Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510080, Guangdong, People's Republic of China.
Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), an inflammation index, is considered a prognostic predictor of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study aimed to evaluate the prognostic value of preoperative peripheral NLR in patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated HCC after radical hepatectomy. Clinical data were collected from patients with HBV-associated HCC who underwent radical hepatectomy. NLR was calculated from lymphocyte and neutrophil counts on preoperative routine blood tests. Demographics, laboratory analyses, and histopathological data were analyzed. A total of 282 patients were selected and divided by the cutoff NLR value of 2. Multivariate analysis showed that NLR > 2 was an independent prognostic predictor of poor disease-free survival [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.362; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.025-1.811; P = 0.033] and overall survival (HR = 1.434; 95% CI 1.044-1.970; P = 0.023). NLR had a good predictive value for prognosis in patients with HBV-associated HCC who had normal serum AFP level. These results suggested that NLR is an independent indicator of both disease-free survival and overall survival in patients with HBV-associated HCC after radical hepatectomy, including AFP-normal patients.