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BACKGROUND: A preoperative marker for morbidity in patients with colorectal cancer would help to risk stratify patients and allow for timely intervention to avert poor outcomes. We conducted this study to evaluate preoperative lymphocyte-white blood cell ratio (LWR) as a marker of postoperative morbidity. METHODS: A prospective cohort of patients who underwent elective surgery for colorectal cancer was reviewed. Three morbidity-related outcomes were described-overall morbidity, multiple morbidities, and severe morbidity, defined as Clavien-Dindo Class ≥3. Univariable and multivariable analyses of presurgical predictors of these three outcomes were performed. Preoperative variables included hemoglobin levels, neoadjuvant therapy, albumin levels, white blood cell count, lymphocyte count, LWR, neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio, and prognostic nutritional index. RESULTS: Of 177 patients, 31.6% (56/177) suffered at least one morbidity, 15.3% (27/177) had multiple morbidities, 7.9% (14/177) suffered severe morbidity. On multivariate analysis, only LWR <0.180 (odds ratio [OR] 2.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.15-5.55) and neoadjuvant therapy (OR 2.49, 95% CI 1.16-5.24) were associated with overall morbidity. For multiple morbidities and severe morbidity, only LWR <0.180 was significantly associated on multivariate analysis with an OR of 2.92 (95% CI 1.19-7.13) and 4.62 (95% CI 1.45-14.73), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: LWR is a preoperative marker which can be conveniently applied using standard preoperative blood tests. LWR is an independent risk factor for overall morbidity, multiple morbidities, as well as severe morbidity when used with a cut-off of LWR<1.80.

Original publication




Journal article


J Surg Res

Publication Date





71 - 78


Colorectal cancer, Lymphocytes, Morbidity, Outcomes, White blood cell, Aged, Colectomy, Colorectal Neoplasms, Comorbidity, Elective Surgical Procedures, Female, Humans, Lymphocyte Count, Lymphocytes, Male, Middle Aged, Neoadjuvant Therapy, Postoperative Complications, Preoperative Period, Prognosis, Prospective Studies, Reference Values, Risk Assessment, Severity of Illness Index