The following article features coverage from the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO). Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s conference coverage.

A new study supports prior findings that patients with hematologic malignancies have an increased risk of developing COVID-19 and having severe outcomes, which include ICU admission and COVID-related death.

However, the study showed no association between recent anticancer treatment and the risk of COVID-19 or severe outcomes.

Researchers presented these results in a poster at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO).1


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The researchers looked at patients with hematologic malignancies or solid tumors treated at a tertiary oncology center in Brussels, Belgium, from March 10, 2020, to May 18, 2020. The study included 121 patients, of whom 45 tested positive for COVID-19.

Previous research revealed several predisposing factors for severe complications of COVID-19 in patients with cancer, including performance status of 2 or greater, progressive malignant disease, metastatic disease, anticancer treatment administered within the prior 14 days, and hematologic malignancy.2-8

In the current study, a univariate analysis showed that having a hematologic malignancy was associated with a significantly increased risk of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (odds ratio [OR], 2.48) and a severe outcome of COVID-19 (OR, 3.73; P <.05 for both).

On the other hand, having a solid tumor malignancy was associated with a significantly decreased risk of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (OR, 0.40) and a severe outcome of COVID-19 (OR, 0.27; P <.05 for both).

Patients had a significantly increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection if they had a performance status of 2 or higher (OR, 2.38) and if they were an inpatient at the time of testing (OR, 2.36; P <.05 for both). Patients were significantly more likely to have a severe outcome of COVID-19 if they had chronic lymphopenia (OR, 2.36; P <.05).

The researchers did note that pre-existing lymphopenia and hematologic malignancies are “confounding factors because hematological patients are prone to have a pre-existing lymphopenia.”

The analysis showed no significant association between recent anticancer treatment (within the prior 14 days) and the risk of COVID-19 or a severe outcome. Likewise, there were no significant associations when the researchers looked specifically at chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy.

“These results can be explained by a rapid application of oncology guidelines (ex: ESMO) during [the] COVID-19 pandemic, which limited delivery of systemic anticancer treatment for stable patients with COVID-19,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers also noted that, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a limited stock of personal protective equipment and no SARS-CoV-2 swab surveillance on admission day. There were 4 nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infections identified in this study.

Based on these results, the researchers recommended that “hygiene precaution must be introduced as soon as possible during a pandemic.”

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s coverage of SOHO 2021 by visiting the conference page.

References

  1. Goudsmit A, Cubilier E, Meert A-P, et al. Factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and outcome in patients with solid tumors or hematological malignancies: A single-center study. Paper presented at: Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO); September 8-11, 2021.
  2. Desai A, Sachdeva S, Parekh T, Desai R. COVID-19 and cancer: Lessons from a pooled meta-analysis. JCO Glob Oncol. 2020;(6):557-559. doi:10.1200/GO.20.00097
  3. Meng Y, Lu W, Guo E, et al. Cancer history is an independent risk factor for mortality in hospitalized COVID-19 patients: A propensity score-matched analysis. J Hematol Oncol. 2020;13(1):75. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13045-020-00907-0
  4. Giannakoulis VG, Papoutsi E, Siempos II. Effect of cancer on clinical outcomes of patients with COVID-19: A meta-analysis of patient data. JCO Glob Oncol. 2020;(6):799-808. doi:10.1200/GO.20.00225
  5. Kuderer NM, Choueiri TK, Shah DP, et al. Clinical impact of COVID-19 on patients with cancer (CCC19): A cohort study. Lancet. 2020;395(10241):1907-18. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31187-9
  6. Dai M, Liu D, Liu M, et al. Patients with cancer appear more vulnerable to SARS-COV-2: A multi-center study during the COVID-19 outbreak. Cancer Discov. 2020;10(6):783-791. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0422
  7. Zhang L, Zhu F, Xie L, et al. Clinical characteristics of COVID-19-infected cancer patients: A retrospective case study in three hospitals within Wuhan, China. Ann Oncol. 2020;31(7):894-901. doi:10.1016/j.annonc.2020.03.296
  8. Yang K, Sheng Y, Huang C, et al. Clinical characteristics, outcomes, and risk factors for mortality in patients with cancer and COVID-19 in Hubei, China: A multicentre, retrospective, cohort study. Lancet Oncol. 2020;21(7):904 -13. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30310-7