By Jennifer Ahlstrom | Posted - May 29th, 2020





ASCO: An Update on COVID-19 and Cancer Patient Outcomes

The COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium published new data in The Lancet with the largest data set of cancer patients who had confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection from the USA, Canada, and Spain. The COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) database included baseline data added between March 17 and April 16, 2020.

The group notes that although this is the largest data set, the number of patients is extremely limited and more data is needed. 

The study was evaluating death rates within 30 day of diagnosis of COVID-19. 

Oof 1035 recorods in the CCC19 database, 928 patients were included in the analysis. The median age was 66 years, 30% of the patients were older than 75 and 50% were male. 

The largest types of cancers represented included breast cancer (21%) and prostate cancer (16%). There were 39% of patients on active cancer treatment and 43% had active cancer.

Increased chance of death included:

  • Older patients
  • Being male
  • Smoking
  • Having more than two co-morbidities
  • Having active cancer
  • Having ECOG performance status of 2 or higher
  • Receiving azithromycin plus hydrochloroquine (but not treated with either of the drugs alone)

Increased chance of death did NOT include: 

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Obesity status
  • Cancer type
  • Type of anticancer therapy
  • Cancer surgery

Compared with healthy individuals who lived in the US Northeast, Canada or US Midwest areas, there was a significantly higher mortality rate for cancer patients. As of May 7, 2020 121 (13%) of patients had died. 

Longer follow-up is needed to better understand the effect of COVID-19 on outcomes in patients with cancer, including the ability to continue specific cancer treatments. Funding American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health, and Hope Foundation for Cancer Research.

Jennifer Ahlstrom
About the Author

Jennifer Ahlstrom - Jenny A - Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical trials. Founder of Myeloma Crowd, Myeloma Crowd Radio, HealthTree and the CrowdCare Foundation.


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