BackgroundIncreasing studies have demonstrated that activated platelets play an essential role in tumour progression. However, the level and prognostic role of platelet indices in chordoma patients remain unclear. The aim of the current study was to characterize the prognostic performance of platelet count (PLT), mean platelet volume (MPV) and platelet distribution width (PDW) in skull base chordoma patients.Methods187 primary skull base chordoma patients between January 2008 and September 2014 were enrolled in this retrospective study. The optimal cut-off values were determined by X-tile software, and the correlations between PLT, MPV, PDW and clinicopathological features were further analysed. Kaplan-Meier curve and Cox regression analysis were used for survival analysis.ResultsThe values of preoperative PTL, MPV and PDW ranged from 104 to 501 × 109/L, 6.7 to 14.2 fl, and 7.8 to 26.2%, respectively. Elevated PLT was associated with larger tumour volume (p = 0.002). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that increased MPV and PDW were associated with shorter overall survival (p = 0.022 and 0.008, respectively). Importantly, multivariate Cox analysis demonstrated that elevated PDW was an independent unfavourable predictive factor for overall survival (hazard ratio (HR), 2.154, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.258–3.688, p = 0.005).ConclusionsOur data show that elevated MPV and PDW are associated with poor outcomes in skull base chordoma and that PDW may be helpful to identify patients with high risk.