London: People diagnosed with cancer more than 24 months ago are more likely to get severe Covid-19 infection, according to researchers.
For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Oncology, the researchers analysed the case of 156 cancer patients with confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis in London.
“Our findings provide the first insight into the possible effects of cancer and its treatments on Covid-19 outcomes,” said study researcher Mieke Van Hemelrijck from King’s College London, the UK.
Advanced statistical methods were employed to identify which demographic or clinical characteristics were associated with Covid-19 severity or death.
Patient follow-ups, conducted 37 days later, found 22 per cent patients from the cohort died from Covid-19 infection. Patients of the Asian ethnicity and those diagnosed with cancer over 24 months before the onset of Covid-19 symptoms were at higher risk.
Patients with dyspnoea (shortness of breath) or high CRP levels (a common blood marker of inflammation) were also at higher risk from Covid-19. Severe Covid-19 infection was associated with fever, dyspnoea, gastrointestinal symptoms or those with cancer.
Hypertension was the most reported co-morbidity followed by diabetes, renal impairment and cardiovascular disease. The most common tumour types were urological/gynaecological (29 per cent), haematological (18 per cent) and breast (15 per cent).
When classified according to the Covid-19 severity, the largest proportion of cancers were haematological (36 per cent). While 40 per cent patients had stage IV cancer, 46 per cent patients had been diagnosed with a malignancy in the last 12 months.
“Large studies with detailed information on Covid-19 safety measures and oncological care are warranted to explore the intersection of Covid-19 and cancer in terms of clinical outcomes,” Hemelrijck said.