Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Fully vaccinated cancer patients have 13 percent mortality rate if they catch COVID-19, study shows

Cancer patients remain at a much higher risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, even if they have been fully vaccinated, according to a new, small-scale study.

The study, published Friday in the journal Annals of Oncology, found that cancer patients had a 13 percent mortality rate if they suffered a successful transfusion.

The study was conducted by the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19), a group of 129 research centers tracking the effects of the virus on cancer patients. Researchers say this is the first study to examine the level of risk for cancer patients who experience breakthrough cases.

Tony Chouri, director of the Lanc Center for Genitourinary Care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a senior author on the report, said: “Cancer patients who successfully develop COVID-19 even after full vaccination can still face serious consequences, including death. can experience.” , said in a press release. “This is why a multi-layered approach that includes masking and social-distancing, as well as vaccination plus boosters against COVID-19, remains an essential approach for the future.”

The study used data collected through an international survey run by CCC19 on its website that focused on people with current or prior cancer and a laboratory-tested test of COVID-19 between the end of November 2020 and May 2021. The focus was on the confirmed case.

A total of 1,787 cancer patients contracted COVID-19 during that time period, most of whom were not vaccinated.

Only 54 patients were fully vaccinated when they contracted the virus, counting full vaccinations as those who had two shots of either Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Or there was a shot of a Johnson & Johnson jab.

Of those who had a successful case, 65 percent had to be hospitalized, 19 percent were on mechanical ventilators in the ICU, and 13 percent died of the virus within 30 days.

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Although the researchers noted that the study had a small sample size and thus may not be completely accurate, the 13 percent mortality rate for success cases in cancer patients is still significantly higher than the mortality rate for the average population. According to data from Canada, more than 88,000 people have contracted COVID-19 while fully vaccinated, but only 1,017 of them have subsequently died of the virus, a mortality rate of about 1.14 percent.

The researchers note that previous research has shown that cancer patients may not be able to generate the same immune response during vaccination as the average person.

A June study found that people with blood cancers had significantly lower levels of antibodies than those with solid tumors.

“Since measures of immunity are not routinely collected in clinical care, we do not know whether it was these patients who established an effective immune response after vaccination; Director of the CCC19 Research Coordinating Center and A lot of emerging data has suggested that cancer patients, especially blood cancers, do not mount sufficient protective antibody responses, said Dr. Jeremy Warner, a senior author of the new study release.

They also noted that their study found that the presence of other risk factors in a patient, as well as whether their cancer was active and progressing, increased their risk of mortality.

“It is important to note that many of the factors we identified before vaccination availability – age, comorbidities, performance status and cancer progression – still appear to drive many of the worse outcomes,” he said. said.

The study appears to support previous research that found people with blood cancers are at greater risk from COVID-19. In both vaccinated and non-vaccinated patients included in the new study, ICU and hospitalization rates increased when patients had blood cancers, as opposed to solid tumors.

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The new study also found that among fully vaccinated cancer patients, 46 percent had reduced levels of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that are important to the immune system.

Low levels of these types of cells are called lymphopenia, and it is common in patients receiving certain types of cancer treatments, such as treatments for lymphoma and leukemia. According to the study, patients with lymphopenia in both the vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups had higher rates of ICU and hospitalization than other patients.

Because of the small size of the new study, the researchers say they cannot tell which anticancer treatments may be associated with a successful infection or which may result in a worse outcome from a successful infection.

“Similar results (higher mortality among fully vaccinated individuals) have been reported in other immunocompromised patient populations, such as organ transplant recipients, prior to the use of additional vaccine doses,” said Dr. Dimitrios Pharmacoitis, an infectious disease physician at the Warren Alpert Brown University Medical School and a senior author of the study, said in the release.

Researchers say the study results emphasize how important it is not only to vaccinate, but to implement a multi-pronged response to protect those at high risk, including cancer patients.

“These findings come at a time of concerns that immune escaping mutants such as the Omicron strain may emerge from chronically infected patients with weakened immune systems,” said Pharmaciotis. “Thus, the immunosuppressed and their close contacts should be target groups for therapeutic and preventive interventions, including community-level outreach and educational efforts.”

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