COVID-19 research brief: COVID-19 mortality in currently treated cancer patients not higher than in other cancer patients

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Published: 2020-07-18 © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Clinical question
Are patients with cancer treated for COVID-19 at higher risk of mortality than other cancer patients?

Bottom line
Patients who are currently being treated for cancer are not at an increased risk of death from COVID-19 compared with other cancer patients. (LOE = 2b)

Lee LY, Cazier JB, Starkey T, et al. COVID-19 mortality in patients with cancer on chemotherapy or other anticancer treatments: a prospective cohort study. Lancet 2020;395(10241):1919-1926.

Study design: Cohort (prospective)

Setting: Population-based

Research Brief #40: This UK study prospectively identified patients with a broad range of active cancers ("active" was defined as treated in the past 12 months) who were newly diagnosed with symptomatic COVID-19. Of the 800 patients, 34% were not currently being treated for cancer, 35% were receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy, 10% radiotherapy, 10% surgery, 8% hormone therapy, 6% immunotherapy, and 4% surgery within 4 weeks of their positive COVID-19 test result. Their mean age was 69 years, and 28.3% died of COVID-19. Comparing the 66% of patients who were recently treated with the 34% not currently being treated, multivariate analysis found no association between current treatment and increased risk of death. The primary independent predictors of death were increasing age, male sex, and comorbidities such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Mark H. Ebell, MD, MS
University of Georgia
Athens, GA

Copyright © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.