Outcomes of COVID-19 tend to be worse among Black patients with cancer than among White patients with cancer, a new study suggests.

The study showed a higher risk of severe COVID-19 and death among Black patients. The findings were published in JAMA Network Open.

The study included 3506 patients, of whom 1068 were Black and 2438 were White. In the overall cohort, the median age was 67 (range, 58-77) years. Most patients (82%) had solid tumors, 54% were in remission or had no evidence of disease, and 59% were not on active cancer therapy.

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Black patients were more likely than White patients to have severe COVID-19 (15% vs 11%) and be admitted to the hospital (65% vs 55%) or the ICU (23% vs 16%).

Black patients were less likely than White patients to be treated with remdesivir (6% vs 10%) and more likely to receive hydroxychloroquine (24% vs 15%).

Black patients also had a higher rate of all-cause mortality (19% vs 17%) and 30-day mortality (17% vs 13%).

After adjusting for baseline covariates, Black patients were still more likely to have severe COVID-19 (odds ratio [OR], 1.34; 95% CI, 1.15-1.58) and a greater risk of 30-day mortality (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.25-2.02).

After balancing racial groups according to baseline covariates, the OR for COVID-19 severity was 1.21 (95% CI, 1.11-1.33), and the relative risk of death was 1.14 (95% CI, 0.95-1.37) for Black patients.

“This is a call for action to eradicate root causes of racial inequities, within the causal framework of structural racism, to reduce the disproportionate burden of diseases, such as COVID-19 and cancer, among Black patients and, possibly, other minority racial and ethnic groups,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures. 


Fu J, Reid SA, French B, et al. Racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes among Black and White patients with cancer. JAMA Netw Open. Published online March 28, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.4304