ASCO 2020 – Active cancer ups mortality risk in patients with COVID-19


  • Pavankumar Kamat
  • Oncology Conference reports
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Takeaway

  • Patients with COVID-19 and active cancer have an increased risk for 30-day all-cause mortality.
  • Independent risk factors for mortality in patients with COVID-19 and cancer include older age, male sex, former smoking, number of comorbidities, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status 2.

Why this matters

  • Patients with cancer are typically older individuals with comorbidities, and their immune systems may be compromised as a result of cancer and/or chemotherapy.

Study design

  • Analysis of 928 patients (median age, 66 years) from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) registry.
  • Funding: NIH; American Cancer Society.

Key results

  • Overall, 39% of patients were receiving active cancer treatment, and 43% had measurable disease.
  • 121 patients (13%) had died at a median follow-up of 21 days.
  • All deaths occurred within 30 days of COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Of those who died: 
    • 78 were male;
    • 64 were former smokers; 
    • 70 were age 75 years;
    • 41 had active stable or responsive cancer; 
    • 25 had progressing cancer; and
    • 42 had an ECOG performance status 2.
  • Of the patients hospitalized, 23% died: 
    • Of those admitted to an ICU, 38% died;
    • Of those who required intubation, 43% died.

Limitations

  • Small sample size and short follow-up.

Expert commentary

  • ASCO President Howard A. Burris III, MD, said: "For people with cancer, the impact of COVID-19 is especially severe, whether they have been exposed to the virus or not."