By Jennifer Ahlstrom | Posted - May 29th, 2020





Lower COVID Antibody Rates for Cancer Patients

Cancer patients develop lower levels of antibodies against COVID-19 after having contracted the virus, according to a new paper in Annals of Oncology. French researchers at the Centre Léon Bérard in Lyon, France, showed that patients with cancer had significantly lower detection rates of SARS-COV2 antibodies 15 days or later after COVID-19 symptoms when compared to healthcare workers. 

Cancer patients were tested with a SARS-nCoV2 RT-OCR nasal swab test and a Toda Coronadiag rapid blood finger prick test 15 days after a positive PCR COVID test. 

  Cancer Patients (85 patients) Healthcare workers (244 patients)
COVID Positive (PCR test)

12% (10 pts)

6% (14 pts)
Detectable antibodies after 15 days

30% (3 of the 10 pts)

71% (10 of the 14 pts)


According to the researchers, additional studies will be necessary to confirm whether immune response to the virus is influenced by recent cancer treatments.

In multiple myeloma, we know that some vaccines have to be administered twice (like the flu vaccine) in a single season, or that booster shots might be important. Some patients also need IVIG infusions and have generally lower IgG or other immunoglobulin numbers because of the myeloma itself or because of the treatment. It's not surprising that cancer patient antibody levels would be lower than healthy heatlhcare workers. 


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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Adrian - The numbers in this are tiny and we dont know what kind of cancers they are. We need to see much bigger samples of this to come to any real conclusions. Hopefully the Brits will come to the rescue there is already a some huge database study which looked at 17million UK patients and their COVID19 risk. Didn't ask this antibody question yet though maybe in part two...

Reply from Jennifer - Totally agree Adrian. Yes, the NHS study (at least on treatments) looks amazing.



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