Total and differential white blood cell count and cause-specific mortality in 436 750 Taiwanese adults

Shin Heng Teresa Chan, Tsung Yu, Zilong Zhang, Ly yun Chang, Cui Guo, Yacong Bo, Tony Tam, Alexis K.H. Lau, Xiang Qian Lao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: White blood cell (WBC) count is an easily obtainable biomarker of systematic inflammation. Our study aimed to investigate the associations of differential WBC count with all-cause and cause-specific mortality in a general Asian population. Methods and results: Cox proportional hazards model was used to evaluate the associations of WBC count with mortality separately for men and women, with adjustment for multiple variables including age, smoking, and other lifestyle factors. Stratified analyses by age, smoking, diabetes, and hypertension were conducted to explore potential effect modification. Elevated WBC count was significantly associated with increased mortality risk. The adjusted hazard ratios of total WBC (10th decile compared to decile of lowest risk) for all-cause mortality were 1.42 (95% CI: 1.33, 1.53) for men and 1.54 (95% CI: 1.42, 1.68) for women. Similar risks were observed for neutrophils, monocytes, and neutrophil/lymphocyte (NL) ratio. The highest deciles of neutrophils, monocytes, and NL ratio were also positively associated with risk of cardiovascular/cerebrovascular, cancer, and respiratory mortality after adjusting for covariates. Results for all-cause mortality remained statistically significant for participants who were <60 years old, non-smokers, non-diabetic, and non-hypertensive. Conclusions: Total and differential WBC counts (neutrophils, monocytes, and NL ratios) are positively associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular, cancer, and respiratory mortality among Taiwanese adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-947
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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