Results of a recent study have found that 10.4% of 1018 patients with both cancer and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have died, a significantly higher percentage than was previously reported for the general population.1

Results of the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium cohort study were presented during the 2020 American Society of Clinical Virtual Scientific Program. 

The cohort study includes patients with active or prior hematologic or invasive solid malignancies and a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Of the 1018 cases included between March and April 2020, the median age was 66 years, and breast and prostate cancers were the most prevalent (20% and 16%, respectively). Nearly half (43%) of the patients were on active anticancer treatment.1 

According to investigators at Johns Hopkins University, the United States has seen a 5.8% mortality rate for every 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19.2 At the time of the cohort data analysis, 10.4% of the patients had died and 26.0% met the composite outcome of death, severe illness requiring hospitalization, and/or mechanical ventilation.1 

Notably, independent factors associated with an increased 30-day mortality were age, male sex, former smoking, ECOG performance status, active malignancy, and receipt of azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine. Tumor type, race and ethnicity, obesity, the number of comorbidities, recent surgery, and type of active cancer therapy were not significant factors.1 

Other research findings have noted a link between prior chemotherapy and an increased risk of death due to COVID-19, finding that patients who had received chemotherapy within 3 months of being diagnosed with COVID-19 had a 64% increased risk of dying from the virus.3 

Still, the authors noted that very limited data exist on patients with both COVID-19 and cancer. They added that longer follow-up is needed in order to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on cancer outcomes, including the ability to continue specific treatments.1

  1. Warner JL, Rubenstein S, Grivas P, et al. Clinical impact of COVID-19 on patients with cancer: data from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19). J Clin Oncol. 2020;38(18 suppl; abstr LBA110). doi:10.1200/JCO.2020.38.18_suppl.2000 
  2. Coronavirus resource center: mortality analyses. Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. Updated June 3, 2020. Accessed June 3, 2020. 
  3. Coppock K. Prior chemotherapy linked to increased risk of death with COVID-19. Pharmacy Times®. June 1, 2020. Accessed June 3, 2020. conferences/asco-2020/prior-chemotherapy-linked-to-increased-risk-of-death-with-covid-19