Department of Radiation Oncology, Zhejiang Provincial Cancer Hospital, Key Laboratory of Radiation Oncology of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, People's Republic of China
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
This study aims to investigate the prognostic value of the C-reactive protein/albumin (CRP/ALB) ratio in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in the intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) era. A total of 719 patients with NPC treated between January 2007 and December 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Serum albumin and CRP levels were measured before treatment. The associations between the CRP/ALB ratio and clinicopathological parameters were analyzed. Multivariate analyses using the Cox proportional hazards model were performed to identify significant prognostic factors associated with overall survival (OS). The prognostic value of the CRP/ALB ratio was determined using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. The optimal CRP/ALB ratio cutoff value was 0.141. High CRP/ALB ratio was significantly associated with older age (P < 0.001), more advanced T category (P < 0.001) and advanced TNM stage (P = 0.024). Patients with an elevated CRP/ALB ratio (≥ 0.141) had poorer OS than those with a CRP/ALB ratio < 0.141 (5-year OS rates: 91.9% vs. 78.1%; P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis suggested clinical T category [hazard ratio (HR) 2.284; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.429-3.652; P = 0.001]; clinical N category (HR 1.575; 95% CI, 1.007-2.464; P = 0.047) and CRP/ALB ratio (HR 2.173; 95% CI, 1.128-3.059; P = 0.015) were independently associated with OS. In conclusion, pretreatment CRP/ALB ratio is an objective biomarker with significant prognostic value for OS in NPC. The CRP/ALB ratio can enhance conventional TNM staging to stratify patients and may help facilitate individualized treatment of high-risk cases.
Keywords: C-reactive protein/albumin ratio, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, overall survival, prognostic factor.