Cancer Patients More Likely to Die During COVID Pandemic


Cancer clients experienced substantially greater rates of COVID-19- associated deaths compared to the public, according to 2 retrospective research studies from the U.S. and Canada.

In a cross-sectional research study released in JAMA Oncology, scientists discovered that the winter season Omicron rise of 2021-2022 was especially fatal, as the variety of deaths amongst U.S. cancer clients increased by 18% compared to the winter season rise of the wild-type variation (December 2020- February 2021), reported Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and coworkers.

In contrast, there were 21% less COVID deaths in the basic population throughout the winter season Omicron rise compared to the previous winter season’s rise.

These findings” recommend that clients with cancer had a diverse concern of COVID-19 death throughout the winter season Omicron wave compared to the basic U.S. population,” Yang and associates composed. “With the introduction of brand-new, immune-evasive SARS-CoV-2 variations, a number of which are expected to be resistant to monoclonal antibody treatments, techniques to avoid COVID-19 transmission must stay a high top priority.”

Findings on COVID death throughout all cancer websites assessed corresponded, with the exception of brain, thyroid, and bladder cancers.

COVID death increased the most amongst clients with lymphoma (death ratio 1.38, 95% CI 1.31 -1.45) throughout the winter season Omicron wave compared to the wild-type duration.

Yang’s group recommended that the higher death concern experienced by cancer clients was most likely due to the increased transmissibility of the Omicron version, a relaxation in policies tailored to avoid COVID transmission, lowered efficiency of vaccines in clients with cancer, and a higher threat of serious illness in those people.

In another research study released in JAMA Network Open, scientists discovered that clients with hematologic malignancies were at increased danger of COVID infection from January 2020 through November 2021 compared to the basic Canadian population (changed HR 1.19, 95% CI 1.13 -1.25), while those with strong growths were at a lower danger (aHR 0.93, 95% CI 0.91 -0.95).

Notably, both groups of cancer clients had actually increased threats of 14- day hospitalization and 28- day death, reported Kelvin K.W. Chan, MD, PhD, of the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and associates:

  • Hematologic malignancies: aHR 1.75(95% CI 1.57 -1.96) and aHR 2.03(95% CI 1.74 -2.38), respectively
  • Solid growths: aHR 1.11(95% CI 1.05 -1.18) and aHR 1.31(95% CI 1.19 -1.44)

Following hospitalization, the 28- day death rate after COVID infection was 50.7% in clients with hematologic malignancies and 45.8% in those with strong growths.

However, the threat of 21- day extensive care system (ICU) admission in clients with hematologic malignancies (aHR 1.14, 95% CI 0.93 -1.40) or strong growths (aHR 0.93, 95% CI 0.82 -1.05) was not substantially various from the threats amongst individuals without cancer.

” These findings highlight the significance of prioritization techniques concerning ICU access to lower the death danger in increased-risk populations, such as clients with cancer,” Chan and group composed.

Chan and coworkers likewise kept in mind that COVID danger reduced step-by-step with increasing varieties of COVID vaccine dosages gotten (one dosage: aHR 0.63, 95% CI 0.62 -0.63; 2 dosages: aHR 0.16, 95% CI 0.16 -0.16; 3 dosages: aHR 0.05, 95% CI 0.04 -0.06).

Study Details

In their research study, Yang and associates utilized information from the CDC’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database to determine 34,350 clients (578% guys) with cancer and 628,156 members of the public (559% males) who passed away from COVID-19 throughout the wild-type alternative wave (December 2020- February 2021), the Delta wave (July 2021- November 2021), and the winter season Omicron wave (December 2021- February 2022).

The authors kept in mind that the variety of clients with cancer who passed away from COVID in the WONDER database was most likely undervalued, because clients with a remote history of cancer might not have actually had cancer tape-recorded in their death certificate and might not have actually been consisted of in the research study mate. In addition, the database does not consist of information on vaccination status or cancer staging.

For the Canadian friend research study, Chan and group utilized information from the Ontario Cancer Registry on 11,732,108 community-dwelling grownups from January 2020 through November 2021.

Of these grownups, 279,287 had cancer (572% females, indicate age 65.9) and 11,452,821 individuals did not have cancer (457% females, indicate age 65.9). In general, 4.1% established COVID.

The cumulative occurrence of COVID infection was 2.9% amongst those with strong growths, 3.5% amongst those with hematologic malignancies, and 4.0% in the non-cancer population.

Study restrictions consisted of the truth that the authors did not have access to information on clients confessed to hospice or clients’ choices for hospitalization or ICU admission at the private level.

  • author['full_name']

    Mike Bassett is a personnel author concentrating on oncology and hematology. He is based in Massachusetts.


Yang had no disclosures.

One of his co-authors reported relationships with Bioverativ, Merck, Janssen, Edwards Life Sciences, Amgen, Eisai, Otsuka, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Sage Therapeutics, Precision Health Economics, Analysis Group, Harry Walker Agency, All American Entertainment, Freakonomics M.D., and Doubleday Books.

The Canadian research study was supported by ICES, which is moneyed by a yearly grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-term Care. This work was likewise supported by the Ontario Health Data Platform, a Province of Ontario effort to support Ontario’s continuous action to COVID-19 and its associated effect.

Chan and co-authors had no disclosures.

Primary Source

JAMA Oncology

Source Reference: Potter AL, et al “Deaths due to COVID-19 in clients with cancer throughout various waves of the pandemic in the United States” JAMA Oncol 2023; DOI: 10.1001/ jamaoncol.20233066

Secondary Source

JAMA Network Open

Source Reference: Hosseini-Moghaddam SM, et al “SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, and death in grownups with and without cancer” JAMA Netw Open 2023; DOI: 10.1001/ jamanetworkopen.202331617

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