Korean J Intern Med.  2023 Sep;38(5):725-733. 10.3904/kjim.2023.171.

Prognostic role of the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio in patients with chronic kidney disease

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea


The neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) has a prognostic value in cardiovascular disease, infection, inflammatory disease, and several malignancies. Therefore, the NLR has a possible predictive value in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), but this predictive value has not been validated. Here, we aimed to investigate the possibility of NLR as a predictor of CKD progression.
This retrospective observational study included 141 patients with non-dialysis CKD. The participants were divided into terciles (T1, T2, and T3) according to NLR. The primary outcome was defined as a composite kidney event, which included a decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of at least 50% or initiation of renal replacement therapy during the follow-up period.
The mean follow-up duration was 5.45 ± 2.11 years. The mean NLRs were 1.35 ± 0.05 in T1 (n = 47), 2.16 ± 0.04 in T2 (n = 47), and 4.29 ± 0.73 in T3 (n = 47). The group with the highest NLR (T3) had higher baseline CKD and serum creatinine and lower eGFR levels than the group with the lowest NLR (T1). The cumulative incidence rate of composite kidney events was significantly higher in T3 compared with T1 (p < 0.001, log-rank test). Cox regression analysis revealed that high NLR was associated with the risk of composite kidney events (adjusted hazard ratio, 3.33; 95% confidence interval, 1.43–7.76).
A higher NLR reflects the more advanced stage of CKD and suggests a role for NLR as a biomarker for predicting CKD progression.


Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio; Chronic kidney disease; Estimated glomerular filtration rate
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