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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Advance lung cancer inflammation index (ALI) at diagnosis is a prognostic marker in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): a retrospective review

Syed H Jafri12*, Runhua Shi12 and Glenn Mills12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of medicine, division of hematology/oncology, Louisiana State University Health, Shreveport, LA, USA

2 Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, Shreveport, LA, USA

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:158  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-158

Published: 27 March 2013



Systemic inflammation has been linked with cancer development, cancer cachexia and poor outcome. Advanced lung cancer inflammation index (ALI) was developed to assess degree of systemic inflammation at the time of diagnosis in metastatic non-small cell lung (NSCLC) cancer patients.


In a single institution retrospective review 173 patients with metastatic NSCLC diagnosed between Jan 1 2000 and June 30 2011 were included. ALI was calculated as (BMI x Alb / NLR) where BMI = body mass index, Alb = serum albumin, NLR (neutrophil lymphocyte ratio, a marker of systemic inflammation). Patients were divided into low inflammation (ALI ≥ 18) and high inflammation (ALI < 18) groups. Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate progression free survival and overall survival. Log-rank test were used to compare the survivals among various factors. Multivariate Cox regression was used to perform survival analysis in order to estimate the hazards ratio for various factors.


Among 173 patients median age was 57 years, 67% were male, 52% had adenocarcinoma. Patients with an ALI score of < 18 suggesting high systemic inflammation were significantly more likely to have more than 2 sites of metastatic disease, have poor performance status and less likely to receive any chemotherapy. Their median progression free survival and overall survival was 2.4 months and 3.4 months as opposed to 5.1 months and 8.3 months in patients with ALI >18 (P < 0.001). On multi-variate analysis ALI score of <18 (1.42, 95% CI 1.003-2.01) remained significantly associated with worse outcome.


ALI (<18) at diagnosis is an independent marker of poor outcome in patients with advanced NSCLC.

Lung cancer; Inflammation; Neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio; Advanced lung cancer inflammation index