An elevated baseline neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) was associated with a poor 1-year mortality rate in hospitalized primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) patients, according to Lin Lin, MD, of Tianjin (China) Medical University General Hospital and the Tianjin Institute of Digestive Diseases and associates.

A retrospective analysis of 88 PBC patients hospitalized between June 2009 and January 2014 was performed for the study. NLR was a significant predictor of survival, with an odds ratio of 1.5, a sensitivity of 100%, and a specificity of 67.1%. A baseline NLR value of 2.18 was selected as the cutoff for 1-year mortality. Of the 33 patients above this value at initial hospitalization, 6 died, whereas none of the 55 patients below this value died.

The results of the retrospective study were confirmed in a prospective 1-year cohort that included 63 people with PBC. The patients with a baseline NLR of less than 2.18 had significantly longer survival times than those who had a baseline NLR of 2.18 or higher.

“NLR – an affordable, widely available and reproducible index – is closely related to short-term mortality in patients with PBC. Further studies are warranted to externally cross-validate our findings in other populations,” the investigators concluded.

Find the full study in BMJ Open (2017. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015304 ).