Patients with cancer and controls developed IgGs at the same rate and in the same time span.
Major Finding: Patients with cancer and controls developed IgGs at the same rate and in the same time span.
Concept: It had previously been documented that patients with cancer may be more susceptible to severe COVID-19.
Impact: This suggests that typical antibody responses are attained after SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with cancer.
Patients with cancer commonly exhibit generalized immunosuppression and are often more vulnerable to the consequences of infections, including infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Although several studies have suggested that patients with cancer may be more susceptible to severe complications and death from COVID-19 than the general population, it is not known if patients with cancer seroconvert as the general population does—that is, whether patients develop detectable antibodies (IgG and IgM) to the virus and, if so, whether patients with cancer do so in the same amount of time as people without cancer. Marra, Generali, and colleagues investigated this in a multicenter, observational, prospective study and reported interim data from the site in Lombardy, Italy (an early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic), which enrolled 105 oncology health care providers without cancer and 61 patients with cancer who had RT-PCR–confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, had clinically or radiologically suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection, or were at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Despite the worse overall health status of the patients with cancer, who had hypertension and/or type 2 diabetes more commonly and were older on average than the oncology health care workers (median 62 vs. 41 years of age), the two groups were equally likely to develop detectable serum anti–SARS-CoV-2 IgG levels following RT-PCR–confirmed infection (87.9% vs. 80.5%; P = 0.39). Additionally, the patients with cancer reached detectable IgG levels within the same time interval as the the oncology health care workers (23 days vs. 28 days; P = 0.21). The same conclusions were made after controlling for age, sex, some comorbidities, and symptom severity. In summary, this work suggests that patients with cancer seroconvert the same as control subjects without cancer following SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Marra A, Generali D, Zagami P, Cervoni V, Gandini S, Venturini S, et al. Seroconversion in patients with cancer and oncology health care workers infected by SARS-CoV-2. Ann Oncol 2020;32:113–9.
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