Risk for COVID-19 Infection Increased With Common Cancers

TUESDAY, Dec. 15, 2020 — Patients with 13 common cancer types have a significantly increased risk for COVID-19 infection and significantly worse outcomes, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in JAMA Oncology.

QuanQiu Wang, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues conducted a retrospective case-control analysis of patient electronic health records for 73.4 million patients from 360 hospitals and 317,000 clinicians across 50 U.S. states. The odds of COVID-19 infections were assessed for 13 common cancer types.

The researchers found that individuals with a recent cancer diagnosis had a significantly elevated risk for COVID-19 infection (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 7.14), with the strongest associations seen for recently diagnosed leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and lung cancer (aORs, 12.16, 8.54, and 7.66, respectively); the weakest correlation was seen for thyroid cancer (aOR, 3.10). Among patients with a recent cancer diagnosis, the odds of COVID-19 infection were significantly higher for African American versus White patients, with this racial disparity highest for breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer (aORs, 5.44, 5.10, 3.30, and 2.53, respectively). Significantly worse outcomes were seen for patients with cancer and COVID-19 (hospitalization, 47.46 percent; death, 14.93 percent) than for those with COVID-19 without cancer (hospitalization, 24.26 percent; death, 5.26 percent) and for patients with cancer without COVID-19 (hospitalization, 12.39 percent; death, 4.03 percent).

“Even after adjusting for COVID-19 risk factors, patients with cancer still were at high risk for COVID-19 for all 13 cancer types,” the authors write.

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