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Use of neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio for predicting histopathological grade of canine mast cell tumours
  1. M. J. Macfarlane, BVMS(hons), MRCVS1,
  2. L. L. Macfarlane, BVMS(hons), DipECVIM-CA, MRCVS1,
  3. T. Scase, BVM&S, BSc, PhD, DipACVP, MRCVS2,
  4. T. Parkin, BVSc, BSc, PhD, DipECVPH, MRCVS3 and
  5. J. S. Morris, BVSc, BSc, DipECVIM-CA, PhD, FRCVS1
  1. 1University of Glasgow, School of Veterinary Medicine, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Bridge Pathology Ltd, Bristol, UK
  3. 3University of Glasgow, Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, Glasgow, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: m.macfarlane.1{at}


Canine mast cell tumours (MCTs) are variable in their biological behaviour and treatment decisions depend heavily on the histopathological grade. Biomarkers such as neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and albumin to globulin ratio are used to predict the biological behaviour of human neoplasms, but have not been widely studied in dogs. A retrospective analysis identified 62 cases of gross MCT (14 high-grade, 48 low-grade tumours). Median NLR was significantly different between high- and low-grade MCT and tumours at different locations. A multivariable model identified increasing NLR (OR 2.0) and age (OR 1.7) to be associated with an increased risk of high-grade MCT. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis identified an NLR threshold value of 5.67 (sensitivity 85.7 per cent; specificity 54.2 per cent) for predicting a high-grade MCT. An NLR threshold of 5.67 could be useful alongside existing tools (appearance, location, etc.) to help to predict the grade of MCT. With further validation, this biomarker could be used to guide clinical decisions before obtaining a histopathological diagnosis.

  • Mast Cell Tumour
  • Biomarker
  • Neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio
  • Haematology
  • Canine

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