|The following article features coverage from the European Hematology Association (EHA) 2021 Virtual Congress. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.|
The mortality rate of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) who become infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may be greater than 1 in 20, according to research presented at the European Hematology Association (EHA) 2021 Virtual Congress.
The spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, spread from China to Italy in late 2019, with lockdowns first initiated in early March 2020. While mortality data have been evaluated for a number of sub-populations, there has been limited information about the effects of COVID-19 infection in patients with CML.
In a retrospective analysis, researchers evaluated the effect of COVID-19 infection on patients with CML in Italy. The study evaluated the characteristics and outcomes of patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, with 3 survey phases launched between 2020 and 2021.
Overall, data from 8665 patients with CML who were treated in 46 centers throughout Italy were included. The COVID-19 positivity rate was 2.5%, with 57% of the diagnoses recorded between September 2020 and January 2021. Patients between 50 and 65 years old were the most likely (35%) to be diagnosed with COVID-19, while 11% of diagnosed patients were older than 75 years.
The majority of COVID-19 diagnoses were, furthermore, among males (73%), and 11% of patients were not receiving treatment for CML, which accorded with the 11% of patients who were in treatment-free remission. Seventy-four percent of patients were in molecular remission at the time of diagnosis.
When diagnosed, 20% of patients were asymptomatic. Symptomatic patients presented with fever and respiratory symptoms (28%), cough (13%), isolated fever (10%), ageusia (13%), and anosmia (12%).
Among patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19, 23% discontinued tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy, 9.6% were hospitalized without a need for respiratory assistance, 3.6% were admitted to an intensive care unit, and 5.5% died.
The mortality rate was 0.13% in the overall CML cohort.
“This study reports the 1-year of data on the COVID-19 infection in a specific hematological malignancy in the European country first hit by the pandemic,” the authors wrote. “A longer follow-up is needed to further define the impact of COVID-19 infection sequelae in CML patients.”
Disclosure: The presenter declared affiliations with Novartis, Incyte, Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb/Celgene, and AbbVie.
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Breccia M, Abruzzese E, Accurso V, et al. COVID-19 infection in chronic myeloid leukemia after 1 year of the pandemic in Italy. A campus CML analysis. Paper presented at: European Hematology Association 2021 Virtual Congress; June 2021; Abstract S154.