Does a high level of white blood cells before surgery impact outcome in patients with lung cancer

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This study wanted to find out if having a high number of a particular white blood cell before surgery was related to a worse outcome in patients with lung cancer. The study found that having a high number of white blood cells before surgery was related to a worse outcome after surgery.

White blood cells are the cells of the immune system. There are many types of white blood cell. One of these type of white blood cell is called a monocyte. Monocytes are found in higher numbers in the bloodstream when the immune system is responding to an attack. Sometimes when a tumor is growing, the immune system turns on a pathway which leads to high numbers of monocytes in the blood. It is not known if having high numbers of monocytes in the blood before surgery for cancer is better or worse for the patient.

This study consisted of 433 patients. All of these patients had lung cancer and had operations to remove a tumor. Before the operation, the levels of monocytes in the blood was measured. The patients were followed for a minimum of six years after surgery.

It was found that patients who had a higher level of monocytes in the blood were almost 3 times less likely to survive compared to those who had a lower level of monocytes. Also, the patients with a higher level of monocytes in the blood were more likely to have the cancer come back compared to the patients with lower levels of monocytes in the blood.

The authors concluded that higher monocyte levels in the blood before surgery for lung cancer was associated with a lower likelihood of survival.

This is a medium sized study. More studies should be done to confirm these findings.

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