The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines may be an effective strategy for reducing COVID-19–related hospitalizations and mortality in patients with cancer, according to a recent study published by Starkey et al in Scientific Reports.
Study Methods and Results
In this study, investigators analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on case-outcome rates for patients with and without cancer from November 2020 to August 2022.
After 21 months of follow-up, the investigators discovered that the hospitalization rates decreased from 30.58% to 7.45% and case-mortality rates decreased from 20.53% to 3.25% among patients with cancer. Further, they found that the age of the patients with cancer was a greater predictor of mortality rates than the type of cancer they had. In 2022, the case-mortality rates for patients older than 80 years was 10.3% compared with 2.8% for patients younger than 80 years.
After COVID-19 infections, the patients with cancer were 2.1 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.54 times more likely to die compared with the patients who did not have cancer.
“[Patients] living with cancer are worried that they have been forgotten. Our work shows that the UK is emerging out of the tunnel of the global pandemic, and we know who are still at the greatest risk of the consequences of [a] COVID-19 infection so that they're not left behind,” senior study author Lennard Lee, DPhil, MA, MRCP, BmBCh, Associate Professor of Oncology at the University of Oxford and an honorary senior research fellow at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham. “These data are undoubtedly good news for patients [with cancer], but despite significant falls in hospitalizations and mortality over the years we studied, we can still see the additional risk that COVID-19 [infections] pose for these patients,” he added.
“By collating and analyzing electronic health-care data for evaluating the real-world impact of the global pandemic in the UK, we can now use population-scale data to protect [patients] living with cancer from infectious diseases such as COVID-19,” concluded lead study author Thomas Starkey, MSc, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the University of Birmingham.
Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit nature.com.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.