COVID-19: patients with cancer or cancer history have worse outcomes

  • Liang W & al.
  • Lancet Oncol
  • 1 Mar 2020

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • Univadis Clinical Summaries
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Takeaway

  • Patients with cancer, especially those receiving active treatment, have increased susceptibility to COVID-19 and complications from the disease.
  • Strong personal protection measures against the virus that causes COVID-19 are warranted for patients with cancer and for cancer survivors.

Why this matters

  • Patients with cancer are often in a systemic immunosuppressive state because of malignancy or anticancer treatments, including chemotherapy and surgery.

Study design

  • A prospective study of a cohort of 1590 patients with COVID-19 from China, 18 with a history of cancer.
  • Funding: China National Science Foundation and the Key Project of Guangzhou Scientific Research Project.

Key results

  • Patients with COVID-19 and cancer vs patients with COVID-19 and no cancer had:
    • Significantly higher risk for “severe events” (39% vs 8%; P=.0003).
    • Rapid deterioration in clinical status (median time to severe events, 13 days vs 43 days). 
  • Patients treated with chemotherapy or surgery in the past month had a higher risk for clinically severe events than those not treated recently (75% vs 43%).
  • Older age remained the only risk factor for severe events (OR, 1.43; 95% CI, 0.97-2.12) after adjustment for age and smoking history.

Limitations

  • Higher median age of patients with cancer may have contributed to the poor prognosis.

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