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Neutrophil, lymphocyte and platelet counts, and risk of prostate cancer outcomes in white and black men: results from the SEARCH database



Systemic inflammation, as measured by C-reactive protein, has been linked with poor prostate cancer (PC) outcomes, predominantly in white men. Whether other immune measures like white blood cell counts are correlated with PC progression and whether results vary by race is unknown. We examined whether complete blood count (CBC) parameters were associated with PC outcomes and whether these associations varied by race.


Analyses include 1,826 radical prostatectomy patients from six VA hospitals followed through medical record review for biochemical recurrence (BCR). Secondary outcomes included castration-resistant PC (CRPC), metastasis, all-cause mortality (ACM), and PC-specific mortality (PCSM). Cox-proportional hazards were used to assess the associations between pre-operative neutrophils, lymphocytes, platelets, neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and platelet-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) with each outcome. We used a Bonferroni-corrected p-value of 0.05/5 = 0.01 as the threshold for statistical significance.


Of 1,826 men, 794 (43%) were black and 1,032 (57%) white. Neutrophil count (p < 0.001), NLR (p < 0.001), and PLR (p < 0.001) were significantly lower, while lymphocyte count (p < 0.001) was significantly higher in black versus white men. After adjusting for clinicopathological features, no CBC measures were significantly associated with BCR. There were no interactions between CBC and race in predicting BCR. Similarly, no CBC values were significantly associated with CRPC, metastases, or PCSM either among all men or when stratified by race. However, higher neutrophil count was associated with higher ACM risk in white men (p = 0.004).


Pre-operative CBC measures were not associated with PC outcomes in black or white men undergoing radical prostatectomy, except for neutrophils-positive association with risk of ACM in white men. Whether circulating immune cell markers provide insight to the pathophysiology of PC progression or adverse treatment outcomes requires further study.

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