University of Cincinnati Researchers Leveraging CCC19 Identify Higher Risk for Cancer & COVID-19 on Certain Regimens

Sep 20, 2020 | At-risk, Blog, Cancer, CCC19, COVID-19, News, Oncology, University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati Researchers Leveraging CCC19 Identify Higher Risk for Cancer & COVID-19 on Certain Regimens

University of Cincinnati researchers report that certain treatments for cancer could increase the probability of death if the patient contracts COVID-19. Based on a multicenter study, the findings were recently presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology Virtual Congress 2020. The study sheds light on ways that standard anti-cancer treatments could impact outcomes for patients with both cancer and COVID-19. As it turns out, those cancer patients treated with a combination of chemotherapy/immunotherapy one to three months prior to COVID-19 diagnosis face higher 30-day mortality risk. Risks go even higher for those patients receiving anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies one to three months prior to COVID-19 diagnosis. Generally, those patients actively treated for cancer (except for endocrine therapy) face higher risk than those that haven’t had active treatment over the past year since COVID-19 diagnosis. The data for this study was derived from the COVID-19 & Cancer Consortium or CCC19 database, which involves a consortium of 100 cancer centers and other organizations, including University of Cincinnati (UC), collecting data about patients with cancer who have been infected with COVID-19.

TrialSite offers a breakdown of this important finding.

Who was the lead author for this study?

Trisha Wise-Draper, MD, University of Cincinnati

What is a core finding here?

As it turns out, some cancer patients are more at risk to COVID-19 infection and associated complications. These at-risk cancer patients upon contacting COVID-19 are more at risk for hospitalization, severe respiratory illness and death.

Is this a different finding than previous?

Yes. The study team at UC used the same CCC19 database using a smaller group of patients and found that although other factors such as age, sex, history of smoking, etc. were factors in boosting the probability of death in that study, cancer was not associated with poorer outcomes, reported Dr. Wise-Draper recently.

However, in this much larger, newer study, Dr. Wise-Draper reports the presence of cancer new risks appear.

What are the study details?

The study involved 3,600 patients from 122 institutions from throughout the United States. The team discovered that 30-day mortality was in fact the most in association with those cancer patients that were treated one to three months before their COVID-19 diagnosis; those patients treated with chemotherapy/immunotherapy combination faced the highest mortality rates.

Dr. Wise-Draper emphasized, “Death was especially high in those receiving anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, which are normally used to deplete abnormal B cells common to certain lymphomas, one to three months prior to COVID-19 infection—a time period for which significant B-cell depletion develops.”

Finally, Wise-Draper emphasized that death was higher for those patients undergoing active cancer treatment, except for endocrine therapy, when compared to patients untreated within a year prior to COVID-19 diagnosis.

Not Good News for Cancer Patients

The point of this study is to highlight the risks to attending physicians and care teams. Those cancer patients fighting cancer face greater risk for death upon COVID-19 diagnosis.  Dr. Wise Draper declared, “Any way you slice it, this is not good news for patients who are fighting cancer.” She explained, “Targeted therapies, especially those causing immune cell depletion, used one to three months before [the diagnosis of] COVID-19, are associated with very high mortality, up to 50%. Also, death from any condition or reason in patients with cancer is higher than the general population, including those who have been in remission and have not received treatment in the last year.”

The doctor continued that, unfortunately, although they previously observed that the use of immunotherapy was safe for COVID-19 patients, this new, larger study reveals a very different reality. They emphasize that additional research is required as COVID-19 impacts are continuously studied, contributing to growing knowledge about the virus and its effects on various patient categories.

What is CCC19?

The COVID-19 & Cancer Coalition or CCC19 is a consortium of over 120 cancer centers and other organizations who have come together to collect data about patients with cancer who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. A powerful approach to collecting real world evidence (RWE), CCC19 seeks to collect and disseminate prospective, granular, uniformly organized information on people with cancer who are diagnosed with COVID-19.

Lead Research/Investigator

Trisha Wise-Draper, MD, University of Cincinnati

Call to Action: If you are currently fighting cancer and in treatment and have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, contact your oncologist/physician and discuss this most recent finding from University of Cincinnati.

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