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Determinants of enhanced vulnerability to COVID-19 in UK cancer patients: a European Study

Pinato, DJ; Scotti, L; Gennari, A; Colomba-Blameble, E; Dolly, S; Loizidou, A; Chester, J; ... Cortellini, A; + view all (2021) Determinants of enhanced vulnerability to COVID-19 in UK cancer patients: a European Study. European Journal of Cancer , 150 pp. 190-202. 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.035. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Despite high contagiousness and rapid spread, SARS-CoV-2 has led to heterogeneous outcomes across affected nations. Within Europe, the United Kingdom (UK) is the most severely affected country, with a death toll in excess of 100.000 as of January 2021. We aimed to compare the national impact of COVID-19 on the risk of death in UK cancer patients versus those in continental Europe (EU). / Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of the OnCovid study database, a European registry of cancer patients consecutively diagnosed with COVID-19 in 27 centres from February 27 to September 10, 2020. We analysed case fatality rates and risk of death at 30 days and 6 months stratified by region of origin (UK versus EU). We compared patient characteristics at baseline, including oncological and COVID-19 specific therapy across UK and EU cohorts and evaluated the association of these factors with the risk adverse outcome in multivariable Cox regression models. / Findings: Compared to EU (n=924), UK patients (n=468) were characterised by higher case fatality rates (40.38% versus 26.5%, p<0.0001), higher risk of death at 30 days (hazard ratio, HR 1.64 [95%CI 1.36-1.99]) and 6 months after COVID-19 diagnosis (47.64% versus 33.33%, p<0.0001, HR 1.59 [95%CI 1.33-1.88]). UK patients were more often males, of older age and more co-morbid than EU counterparts (p<0.01). Receipt of anticancer therapy was lower in UK versus EU patients (p<0.001). Despite equal proportions of complicated COVID-19, rates of intensive care admission and use of mechanical ventilation, UK cancer patients were less likely to receive anti-COVID-19 therapies including corticosteroids, anti-virals and interleukin-6 antagonists (p<0.0001). Multivariable analyses adjusted for imbalanced prognostic factors confirmed the UK cohort to be characterised by worse risk of death at 30 days and 6 months, independent of patient’s age, gender, tumour stage and status, number of co-morbidities, COVID-19 severity, receipt of anticancer and anti-COVID-19 therapy. Rates of permanent cessation of anticancer therapy post COVID-19 were similar in UK versus EU. / Interpretation: UK cancer patients have been more severely impacted by the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic despite societal risk mitigation factors and rapid deferral of anticancer therapy. The increased frailty of UK cancer patients highlights high-risk groups that should be prioritised for anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Continued evaluation of long-term outcomes is warranted.

Type: Article
Title: Determinants of enhanced vulnerability to COVID-19 in UK cancer patients: a European Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.035
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.035
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; cancer; UK; Europe; Mortality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > CRUK Cancer Trials Centre
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Oncology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10126426
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