Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic currently presents a grave threat to the health of vulnerable patient populations like those with underlying malignancy. Healthcare systems across the world are experiencing the detrimental impact of this novel infection while simultaneously learning about this novel disease and concurrently developing vaccines, treatments, and strategies to mitigate its spread. Cancer patients are uniquely susceptible to severe clinically adverse events and higher mortality from COVID-19 infection as well as morbidity and mortality from their underlying malignancy. The effects of delayed cancer care will unravel in the next few months.
Methods: Extensive electronic search was undertaken of articles in PubMed database until 21 June 2020. Articles were identified using keywords,” COVID-19 clinical features” and “COVID-19 and cancer.” Articles from China, Europe, and North America were analyzed. To review the recommendations during COVID-19 pandemic, we reviewed guidelines from various international cancer society's such as National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), and American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) for lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer.
Conclusion: Our review of studies done in China, Europe, and North America suggests increased risk of mortality and serious clinical events from COVID-19 infection in cancer patients. Patients with lung cancer, active untreated cancer, metastatic disease, and those getting palliative treatment were at higher risk of adverse events. However, patients who recently received anti-cancer therapies did not seem to experience increased risk of adverse events. We have also reviewed clinical features of COVID-19, recent recommendations from various medical, surgical, and radiation oncology societies for major solid tumor types like lung, breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer during the duration of this pandemic.
Cancer, COVID-19, Pandemic, Outcomes, Recommendations, Oncology