Objectives: To determine the predictive and prognostic value of a panel of systemic inflammatory response (SIR) biomarkers relative to established clinicopathological variables in order to improve patient selection and facilitate more efficient delivery of peri-operative systemic therapy. Materials and Methods: The preoperative serum levels of a panel of SIR biomarkers, including albumin–globulin ratio, neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio, De Ritis ratio, monocyte–lymphocyte ratio and modified Glasgow prognostic score were assessed in 4199 patients treated with radical cystectomy for clinically non-metastatic urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. Patients were randomly divided into a training and a testing cohort. A machine-learning-based variable selection approach (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator regression) was used for the fitting of several multivariable predictive and prognostic models. The outcomes of interest included prediction of upstaging to carcinoma invading bladder muscle (MIBC), lymph node involvement, pT3/4 disease, cancer-specific survival (CSS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS). The discriminatory ability of each model was either quantified by area under the receiver-operating curves or by the C-index. After validation and calibration of each model, a nomogram was created and decision-curve analysis was used to evaluate the clinical net benefit. Results: For all outcome variables, at least one SIR biomarker was selected by the machine-learning process to be of high discriminative power during the fitting of the models. In the testing cohort, model performance evaluation for preoperative prediction of lymph node metastasis, ≥pT3 disease and upstaging to MIBC showed a 200-fold bootstrap-corrected area under the curve of 67.3%, 73% and 65.8%, respectively. For postoperative prognosis of CSS and RFS, a 200-fold bootstrap corrected C-index of 73.3% and 72.2%, respectively, was found. However, even the most predictive combinations of SIR biomarkers only marginally increased the discriminative ability of the respective model in comparison to established clinicopathological variables. Conclusion: While our machine-learning approach for fitting of the models with the highest discriminative ability incorporated several previously validated SIR biomarkers, these failed to improve the discriminative ability of the models to a clinically meaningful degree. While the prognostic and predictive value of such cheap and readily available biomarkers warrants further evaluation in the age of immunotherapy, additional novel biomarkers are still needed to improve risk stratification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas