Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemo During COVID-19
- A leading expert says initial results from new UK study suggests that some cancer patients can continue with treatment amid the outbreak
- Low-dose chemotherapy recipients, often given to those with prostate or breast cancer, showed a lower risk for infection of COVID-19
- For older cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, their risk did not significantly increase
UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project (UKCCMP) launched a clinical trial in March studying 800 cancer patients positive for COVID-19 who have been diagnosed with types of cancers including: Melanoma, female genital cancers, lymphoma, myeloma and other hematologic (blood) cancers, gastrointestinal cancers, lung cancer, and urinary tract cancers. Many of those most negatively affected by continuing their cancer treatments were older individuals or patients fighting additional aliments and their treatments did not appear to be a main contributing factor to end results.Read More
The Flaws In The U.K. Study
While the results may be promising, Dr. Grossbard is quick to point that they shouldn’t be generalized to all cancer patients. However, the clinical trial contained some flaws such as the small number of patients studied who were undergoing immunotherapy (6%) as a treatment option, and the small number participants diagnosed with blood cancers.
“I don’t think the data from this U.K. study is generalizable to all of our patient populations,” says Dr. Grossbard. “We’ve all been very concerned about how people with cancer will fare if they get COVID-19 infections, [and] I do have to say that this most recent study from Europe was a relatively limited number of cancer types and not exactly in accord with data that have been published at other institutions…While this most recent study from Europe is interesting and encouraging, I think all of us are still going to have a lot of caution with how we treat our patients during the COVID era.”