- Cancer patients who are admitted for treatment (not necessarily active cancer treatment) seem to have increased susceptibility to COVID-19; older patients (>60 years) and patients with NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) appear to be at particular risk1.
- Hospital admissions and recurrent hospital visits, as well as the immunocompromised state of cancer patients undergoing treatment, are potential risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection; hence, the authors suggest reducing the frequency of hospital visits in cancer patients and establishing proper isolation protocols for those requiring treatment1.
- The pooled prevalence of cancer in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 ranges from 2 to 3%2. Multiple caracteristics may lead to overrepresentation of cancer in hospitalised patients with COVID-19: cancer patients are older, have more comorbidities and they appear to have an increased risk of severe events from COVID-19, according to recent evidence (see article Risk of Severe Events in Cancer Patients).
- Overall, current evidence on the association between cancer and COVID-19 remains inconclusive2. Nevertheless, particular attention must be given to cancer patients (especially those undergoing stem cell transplantation, those with hematologic malignancies and those receiving active treatment) considering the potentially higher risk of this vulnerable group.
Yu J. et al (JAMA Oncology), in their research letter published online by JAMA Oncology on March 25, describe a single-center retrospective cohort study based in Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China. Medical records of 1524 cancer patients admitted to the Department of Radiation and Medical Oncology between December 30 and February 17 were reviewed, and outcomes of those diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia (n=12) were reported. Desai A. et al (JCO Global Oncology) did a meta-analysis to assess the prevalence of cancer among COVID-19 patients. Clinical studies with ≥ 10 non overlapping patients undergoing COVID-19 treatment during hospitalization were considered eligible, and total of 11 articles meeting the qualifying criteria were selected; the studies included in the analysis range from 32 to 1590 patients, for a cumulative total of 3661 patients. Baseline clinical records (including demographics, comorbidities) and outcomes (including pooled prevalence of cancer/malignancy) were extracted, and the final analysis was performed using random-effects models. The article was published online on JCO Global Oncology on April 6.
- Yu J., Ouyang W., Chua M. et al (March 25, 2020). SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Patients With Cancer at a Tertiary Care Hospital in Wuhan, China. JAMA Oncology. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0980
- Desai A., Sachdeva S., Parekh T. and Desai R. (April 6, 2020). COVID-19 and Cancer: Lessons From a Pooled Meta-Analysis. JCO Global Oncology. https://doi.org/10.1200/GO.20.00097