Some cancer treatments can be deadly for Covid-19 positive patients with cancer: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 20, 2020

A team of researchers in the United States found that there are certain treatments of cancer that can be lethal to Covid-19 positive patients, as per the study published in the journal Eureka Alert!.

The study was carried out by the researchers at the University of Cincinnati and presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology Virtual Congress 2020.

Researchers mentioned in their study that anti-cancer treatments may exacerbate the condition of patients suffering from both cancer and coronavirus.

One of the authors of the study, Trisha Wise-Draper, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the UC College of Medicine stated in a statement: “Patients with cancer are susceptible to infection from Covid-19 and subsequent complications.”

She added: “They experience higher rates of hospitalization, up to 40 percent, severe respiratory illness, and death. Treatment for cancer, within four weeks of (the diagnosis of) Covid-19, was suggested to be associated with higher rates of complications, but less is known about treatment before or after that time frame.”

Other studies

An earlier study carried in a smaller group of patients found that there are certain factors that drive the severity in coronavirus cases. This includes active cancer, among others.

“However, recent cancer treatment was not associated with poor outcomes in the smaller cohort. Now, we’re investigating the correlation between the timing of anti-cancer treatment and Covid-19 related complications as well as death in 30 days of a larger number of patients — over 3,000,” Wise-Draper said.

For the study, researchers analyzed 3,600 patients from 122 institutions across the country.

“Death was especially high in those receiving anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, which are normally used to deplete abnormal B cells common for certain lymphomas, one to three months prior to Covid-19 infection — a time period for which significant B-cell depletion develops,” Wise-Draper added.

Death was higher for those undergoing active cancer treatments, except for endocrine therapy, when compared to patients untreated within a year prior to Covid-19 diagnosis.

According to researchers, therapies, especially those that cause immune cell depletion, used one to three months before the diagnosis of Covid-19, are associated with very high mortality, up to 50 percent, in patients with cancer and coronavirus.

Published on September 20, 2020

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