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Aspartate Transaminase-to-Albumin Ratio (ATAR), a Novel Prognostic Index, Predicts Outcomes in Patients with Small-Cell Lung Cancer by Shan Liu, Hanxiao Ren, Ruiling Zu, Dongsheng Wang, Ping Leng, Huaichao Luo

Background: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is characterized by high invasion rates, rapid progression, and poor prognoses. Thus, identifying SCLC patients at high risk of progression and death is critical to improve long-term survival. In this study, the aspartate transaminase-to-albumin ratio (ATAR) was examined as a prognostic factor for SCLC patients.
Methods: We screened 196 SCLC patients from December 2013 to September 2022 at the Sichuan Cancer Hospital. The data was collected from patients' medical information as well as from their blood results during diagnosis. Using the Youden index as a cutoff value, patients were divided into high-risk(> 0.54) and low-risk (≤ 0.54) ATAR groups. We analyzed the prognostic factors for overall survival (OS) using the Kaplan-Meier method, univariate and multivariate analyses, Cox regression, and the C-index.
Results: There were 109 (55.6%) smokers among the patients, and the median OS was 17.55 months. The Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that patients with high-risk ATAR had significantly lower OS (p < 0.0001). A multivariate analysis demonstrated that elevated ATAR is an independent adverse predictor of OS (p < 0.001, HR = 1.907). Our study found that ATAR is an independent predictor of survival outcomes in SCLC, which was superior to ALB, PNI, and SII in predicting outcomes in low-risk and high-risk groups (all p < 0.05). Models combining ATAR with ALB, PNI, and SII showed more powerful prognostic value than their corresponding original models. Moreover, the prognostic indicator ATAR can significantly stratify stage I - II and III - IV SCLC patients (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Peripheral blood ATAR prognostic index can be used as an independent predictor of SCLC patients before treatment.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2023.230943