BACKGROUND: Neutrophils present as major inflammatory cells in refractory chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP), regardless of the endotype. However, their role in the pathophysiology of CRSwNP remains poorly understood. We investigated factors predicting the surgical outcomes of CRSwNP patients with focus on neutrophilic localization. METHODS: We employed machine-learning methods such as the decision tree and random forest models to predict the surgical outcomes of CRSwNP. Immunofluorescence analysis was conducted to detect human neutrophil elastase (HNE), Bcl-2, and Ki-67 in NP tissues. We counted the immunofluorescence-positive cells and divided them into three groups based on the infiltrated area, namely, epithelial, subepithelial, and perivascular groups. RESULTS: On machine learning, the decision tree algorithm demonstrated that the number of subepithelial HNE-positive cells, Lund-Mackay (LM) scores, and endotype (eosinophilic or non-eosinophilic) were the most important predictors of surgical outcomes in CRSwNP patients. Additionally, the random forest algorithm showed that, after ranking the mean decrease in the Gini index or the accuracy of each factor, the top three ranking factors associated with surgical outcomes were the LM score, age, and number of subepithelial HNE-positive cells. In terms of cellular proliferation, immunofluorescence analysis revealed that Ki-67/HNE-double positive and Bcl-2/HNE-double positive cells were significantly increased in the subepithelial area in refractory CRSwNP. CONCLUSION: Our machine-learning approach and immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated that subepithelial neutrophils in NP tissues had a high expression of Ki-67 and could serve as a cellular biomarker for predicting surgical outcomes in CRSwNP patients.