People diagnosed with cancer more than 24 months ago are more likely to get severe Covid-19 infection, according to researchers.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, the researchers analyzed the case of 156 cancer patients with confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis in London.
“Our findings provide the first insight into the possible effects of cancer and its treatments on Covid-19 outcomes,” said study researcher Mieke Van Hemelrijck from King’s College London, the UK.
Advanced statistical methods were employed to spot which demographic or clinical characteristics were related to Covid-19 severity or death.
Patient follow-ups, conducted 37 days later, found 22 percent of patients from the cohort died from Covid-19 infection. Patients of the Asian ethnicity and those diagnosed with cancer over 24 months before the onset of Covid-19 symptoms were at higher risk.
Patients with dyspnoea (shortness of breath) or high CRP levels (a common blood marker of inflammation) were also at higher risk from Covid-19. Severe Covid-19 infection was associated with fever, dyspnoea, gastrointestinal symptoms, or those with cancer.
Hypertension was the most reported co-morbidity followed by diabetes, renal impairment, and cardiovascular disease. The most common tumor types were urological/gynecological (29 percent), hematological (18 percent), and breast (15 percent).
When classified according to the Covid-19 severity, the largest proportion of cancers were hematological (36 percent). While 40 percent of patients had stage IV cancer, 46 percent of patients had been diagnosed with a malignancy in the last 12 months.
Many studies with detailed information on Covid-19 safety measures and oncological care are warranted to explore the intersection of Covid-19 and cancer in terms of clinical outcomes, Hemelrijck stated.