HealthDay News — Real-world evidence shows that patients with cancer have a higher risk for developing breakthrough COVID-19 infections and severe outcomes, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Qianqian Song, PhD, from Indiana University in Indianapolis, and colleagues used data from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative to identify breakthrough infections (December 1, 2020, through May 31, 2021) among more than 64,000 patients partially or fully vaccinated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and with no prior severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection record.

The researchers identified 6860 breakthrough cases, among whom 21.3% were patients with cancer. There was a significantly higher risk for breakthrough infection with solid tumor and hematologic malignancies (odds ratios [ORs], 1.12, and 4.64, respectively) and severe outcomes (ORs, 1.33, and 1.45, respectively) vs noncancer patients when adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, vaccine type, and vaccination date. Patients with hematologic malignancies had an increased risk for breakthrough infections (adjusted OR range from 2.07 for lymphoma to 7.25 for lymphoid leukemia) compared with solid tumors. After the second vaccine dose, breakthrough risk was reduced for all cancers (OR, 0.04), and risk was reduced for the Moderna mRNA-1273 vs Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine (OR, 0.66), particularly in patients with multiple myeloma (OR, 0.35). Breakthrough risk among the vaccinated population was strongly associated with medications with major immunosuppressive effects and bone marrow transplantation.


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“Real-world evidence shows that patients with cancer, especially hematologic malignancies, are at higher risk for developing breakthrough infections and severe outcomes,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text