Correlation between hematological parameters and PET/CT metabolic parameters in patients with head and neck cancer.

Bojaxhiu, Beat; Sinovcic, Dubravko; Eliçin, Olgun; Templeton, Arnoud J; Shelan, Mohamed; Wartenberg, Jan; Alberts, Ian; Rominger, Axel; Aebersold, Daniel M; Zaugg, Kathrin (2022). Correlation between hematological parameters and PET/CT metabolic parameters in patients with head and neck cancer. Radiation oncology, 17(1), p. 141. BioMed Central 10.1186/s13014-022-02112-4

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Systemic inflammation is predictive of the overall survival in cancer patients and is related to the density of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment of cancer, which in turn correlates with 18F -fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) metabolic parameters (MPs). The density of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in the microenvironment has the potential to be a biomarker that can be used clinically to optimize patient selection in oropharyngeal head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). There is little to no data regarding the association of systemic inflammation with PET/CT-MPs, especially in HNSCC. This study aimed to evaluate the correlation between markers of host inflammation, namely blood neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), with the PET/CT-MPs standardized uptake value (SUV), metabolic tumor volume (MTV), and total lesion glycolysis (TLG) of the primary tumor, derived from FDG-PET/CT in patients with nonmetastatic (cM0) HNSCC before treatment. We hypothesized that NLR and PLR at baseline are positively correlated with PET/CT-MPs.


A retrospective review of consecutive patients with HNSCC with a pretreatment PET/CT was performed. NLR and PLR were computed using complete blood counts measured within 10 days before the start of any treatment. The correlation between NLR and PLR with PET/CT-MPs was evaluated with Spearman's rho test.


Seventy-one patients were analyzed. Overall survival (OS) at 1, 2, and 3 years was 86%, 76%, and 68%. PLR was found to be correlated with MTV (rho = 0.26, P = .03) and TLG (rho = 0.28, P = .02) but not with maximum SUV or mean SUV. There was no correlation between NLR and the analyzed PET/CT-MPs. TLG was associated with worse survival in uni- and multivariable analysis, but no other PET/CT-MPs were associated with either OS or disease-specific survival (DSS). NLR and PLR were associated with OS and DSS on uni- and multivariable analysis.


In patients with HNSCC before any treatment such as definitive radio (chemo)therapy or oncologic surgery followed by adjuvant RT, baseline PLR correlated with MTV and TLG but not with SUV. NLR was not correlated with any PET/CT-MPs analyzed in our study. Confirmatory studies are needed, and a potential interaction between tumor microenvironment, host inflammation, and FDG-PET/CT measures warrants further investigation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Radiation Oncology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Clinic of Nuclear Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Bojaxhiu, Beat, Eliçin, Olgun, Shelan, Mohamed, Wartenberg, Jan Peter Arnold, Alberts, Ian Leigh, Rominger, Axel Oliver, Aebersold, Daniel Matthias, Zaugg, Kathrin


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

15 Aug 2022 11:18

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:22

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Head and neck NLR PET PLR Radiotherapy




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