Background: Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a biomarker of inflammation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. But, a meaningful threshold and the longitudinal changes are unknown. We aimed to investigate the association between NLR and the clinical characteristics of COPD patients and to determine a meaningful threshold and the longitudinal changes for NLR. Methods: Keio University and its affiliate hospitals conducted an observational COPD cohort study over 3 years. We performed a blood examination and a pulmonary function test. Blood examination was completed at baseline and annually thereafter, at a time when the disease was stable. Two hundred seventy-four patients who had at least 3 blood examinations over 3 years were included. Results: Baseline NLR was correlated with baseline C-reactive protein (CRP) (r = 0.18, p = 0.003) and SAA (r = 0.34, p < 0.001). We defined an NLR score of 2.7 as the arbitrary cut-off value based on upper quartile points. COPD patients with NLR ≥ 2.7 were older (p = 0.037), had a lower BMI (p = 0.005) and a lower %FEV1 (p = 0.0003) compared to patients with NLR < 2.7. Receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curves showed the optimal cutoff for the baseline NLR in the predicting moderate/severe exacerbation to be 2.7, which was same as the upper quartile points. Follow-up analysis over 3 years revealed that the differences in the trends of NLR among the three groups based on the categories of exacerbations (moderate or severe, mild, no exacerbation) were significant (p = 0.006). Conclusions: NLR is associated with COPD severity and exacerbations. For predicting exacerbations, we estimated the threshold of NLR to be 2.7 at baseline.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine