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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 135-139

Prognostic nutritional index - A predictive tool for treatment tolerance in head and neck radiotherapy

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Aster Medicity, Kochi, Kerala, India
2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. T R Arul Ponni
Department of Radiation Oncology, Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru - 560 054, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2311-3006.362635

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Background: Head-and-neck cancer (HNC) constitutes one-third of all cancers in developing countries, and the majority present in locally advanced stages. Poor nutritional status is invariably present which compromises treatment compliance, quality of life and survival outcome, posing a major treatment challenge. The aim of this study was to assess the role of pretreatment biomarkers including neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), and prognostic nutritional index (PNI) in predicting treatment tolerance. Materials and Methods: This prospective observational study included 82 patients receiving definitive and adjuvant radiotherapy for HNC. Utilizing baseline blood investigations, the NLR, PLR, and PNI (10 × albumin + 0.005× lymphocyte count) were calculated for each patient. The cutoff values of NLR, PLR, and PNI were based on the median values. Treatment tolerance in terms of weight loss of more than 10% during treatment, the need for feeding procedure, treatment breaks, and not completing planned treatment as per the schedule were assessed. Associations of NLR, PLR, and PNI with the treatment tolerance factors were assessed using the Chi-square test and Fisher's exact test, and a P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Low PNI significantly correlated with feeding procedure requirement and treatment breaks, thus compromising treatment completion. NLR and PLR did not show statistically significant correlations. Conclusion: Low PNI is a reliable predictive factor of poor treatment tolerance. It is an accessible screening tool to identify patients at risk of poor treatment tolerance in whom early interventions can be made to aid in uneventful treatment completion.

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