Case abstraction study period was from 10 March to 7 April 2020. Follow-up of abstracted cases was until 7 May 2020.

Case abstraction study period was from 10 March to 7 April 2020. Follow-up of abstracted cases was until 7 May 2020. Courtesy of Nature Medicine


June 25, 2020 — The characterization of COVID-19 in patients with cancer remains limited in published studies and nationwide surveillance analyses. Reports from China and Italy have raised the possibility that patients with cancer on active therapy have a higher risk of COVID-19 related severe events, although there is a knowledge gap as to which aspects of cancer and its treatment increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

A team of researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) reported on the epidemiology of COVID-19 illness experienced at an NCI-designated cancer center during the height of pandemic in New York City.

Bottom Line

According to a new study from Memorial Sloan Kettering published June 24 in Nature Medicine, patients in active cancer treatment who develop COVID-19 infection don't fare any worse than other hospitalized patients. Notably, metastatic disease, recent chemotherapy, or major surgery within the previous 30 days did not show a significant association with either hospitalization or severe respiratory illness due to COVID-19. Researchers say their findings suggest that no one should delay cancer treatment because of concerns about the virus.

Author Comments

"If you're an oncologist and you're trying to figure out whether to give patients chemotherapy, or if you're a patient who needs treatment, these findings should be very reassuring," said Ying Taur, M.D., Ph.D., an Infectious Disease Specialist at MSK.

"The course and clinical spectrum of this disease is still not fully understood and this is just one of many studies that will need to be done on the connections between cancer and COVID-19," explained Mini Kamboj, M.D., Chief Medical Epidemiologist, Infection Control at MSK. "But the big message now is clear: People shouldn't stop or postpone cancer treatment."

Method and Findings

The study looked at 423 MSK patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 10 and April 7. Overall, 40 percent were hospitalized for COVID-19, and 20 percent developed severe respiratory illness. About 9 percent had to be placed on a mechanical ventilator, and 12 percent died. The most frequent cancer types included solid tumors such as breast, colorectal, and lung cancer. Lymphoma was the most common hematologic malignancy. Over half of the cases were metastatic solid tumors.

Similar to other studies in the general population, the researchers found that age, race, cardiac disease, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease correlated with severe outcomes. The investigators found that patients taking immunotherapy drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors were more likely to develop severe disease and require hospitalization. Further research is required to look at the effects of these drugs. But other cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and surgery, did not contribute to worse outcomes.

For more information: www.mskcc.org


Related Content

News | Artificial Intelligence

June 17, 2024 — Avenda Health, an AI healthcare company creating the future of personalized prostate cancer care ...

Time June 17, 2024
arrow
News | Proton Therapy

June 14, 2024 — Atlantic Health System, an integrated health care system setting standards for quality health care in ...

Time June 14, 2024
arrow
News | PET Imaging

June 14, 2024 — Positron Corporation, a leading molecular imaging medical device company offering PET and PET-CT ...

Time June 14, 2024
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

June 11, 2024 — A new study led by researchers at Emory AI.Health, published in the Journal of Computers in Medicine and ...

Time June 11, 2024
arrow
News | FDA

June 10, 2024 — Siemens Healthineers announces the Food and Drug Administration clearance of the Biograph Trinion, a ...

Time June 10, 2024
arrow
News | Breast Imaging

June 7, 2024 — Scholars and studies funded by Susan G. Komen(R), the world’s leading breast cancer organization ...

Time June 07, 2024
arrow
News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers

June 7, 2024 — Shine Technologies, LLC, a pioneer in next-generation fusion-based technology, today announced a new ...

Time June 07, 2024
arrow
News | Information Technology

June 4, 2024 — International medical imaging IT and cybersecurity company Sectra has launched a new diagnostic IT module ...

Time June 04, 2024
arrow
Feature | Radiology Business | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane

As we flip the page to a new month on our calendars, here is a look at the Top 10 pieces of content viewers were reading ...

Time June 04, 2024
arrow
News | Lung Imaging

May 31, 2024 — To further the fight against global lung cancer, Qure.ai, a leader in healthcare artificial intelligence ...

Time May 31, 2024
arrow
Subscribe Now