We assessed the immunogenicity and safety of the BNT162b2 vaccine in a large cohort of patients with cancer (CP).
From March 1, 2021 to March 20, 2021, this prospective cohort study included 816 CP afferent to our institution and eligible for the vaccination. A cohort of 274 health care workers (HCW) was used as age- and sex-matched control group. BNT162b2 was administered as a two-dose regimen given 21 days apart. Blood samples to analyze anti-Spike (S) IgG antibodies (Ab) were collected prevaccination [timepoint (TP) 0], and at 3 weeks (TP1) and 7 weeks (TP2) after the first dose.
Patients characteristics: median age 62 (range, 21–97); breast/lung cancer/others (31/21/48%); active treatment/follow-up (90/10%). In the whole CP cohort, the serologic response rate (RR) and the titre of anti-S IgG significantly increased across the TPs; at TP2, the responders (IgG >15 AU/mL) were 94.2%. Active chemotherapy and chronic use of steroids were independent predictors of lower RR. Adverse events (AE) after the booster predicted higher likelihood of response (OR, 4.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.63–9.99; P = 0.003). Comparing the matched cohorts, the responders were significantly lower in CP than in HCW at TP1 (61.2% vs. 93.2%) and TP2 (93.3% vs. 100%), while the geometric mean concentration of IgG did not significantly differ at TP2 being significantly lower in CP (23.3) than in HCW (52.1) at TP1. BNT162b2 was well tolerated in CP; severe-grade AEs were 3.5% and 1.3% after the first and second doses, respectively.
BNT162b2 assures serologic immunization without clinically significant toxicity in CP. The second dose is needed to reach a satisfactory humoral response.