Coronavirus COVID-19 – cancer patients are at high risk of infection and complications

New data indicate that patients with active cancer and immunosuppression have an increased risk of coronary virus infection and secondary complications of the viral disease. This data was obtained from experts from China and published in the Lancet Oncology Journal.


The authors presented data on a prospective sample of 1,590 patients with COVID-19. Out of 18 patients with cancer and COVID-19, 39% had a significantly increased risk of serious events, including rapid clinical deterioration with the need for hospitalization in the intensive care unit and / or lung ventilation. For comparison, out of 1572 patients with viral infection without malignant tumor, only 8% had a significantly increased risk of complications.


Cancer patients have a significantly higher risk of rapid deterioration of the clinical condition compared to patients without malignant tumors. The average time to severe events was 13 days, compared with 43 days (risk ratio 3.56, p <0.0001).


The analysis shows that in patients undergoing chemotherapy or those after surgery previous month, the risk of serious clinical events was 75%, compared with 43% for those who did not receive recent treatment.


After taking into account other risk factors, including age and smoking history, old age was identified as the only risk factor for serious events (odds ratio 1.43, p = 0.072).


Patients with lung cancer did not have an increased risk of serious events compared with patients with other malignant tumors.


The authors conclude that these results are an important reminder for cancer patients, as well as for increased attention from physicians in the treatment of patients with malignant diseases.


Source: Emed, Lancet Oncology 2020

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