Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced treatment decisions in cancer patients. There is increasing evidence that not all oncology patients are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection or death. This study aimed to look at rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality in patients with skin malignancies receiving systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) during the pandemic in Guy’s Cancer Centre. Methods: All patients with skin cancer receiving SACT at Guy’s Cancer Centre between March 1st and May 31st 2020 were included. Demographic data: sex, age, socio-economic status (SES), ethnicity, comorbidities, medications and smoking history were collected along with cancer characteristics: cancer type, stage, treatment paradigm, modality and line. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by PCR and severity defined by the World Health Organisation classification. Patients with radiological or clinical diagnoses alone were excluded. Results: Of 116 skin cancer patients on SACT over the 3-month period, 89% had Melanoma, 5% Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), 3% Squamous Cell, 2% Merkel Cell, 1% Basal Cell Carcinoma and 1% Angiosarcoma. 53% were male and 78% were of low SES. 62% were being treated with palliative intent and 70% of these were on first line palliative treatment. The median age was 57.6 years in COVID-19 positive patients (n=3) compared to 60.3 years in the negative group (n=113). 58.6% received immunotherapy, 28.4% targeted therapy, 7.8% chemotherapy and 4.3% combined treatment. Of the 3 patients (2.6%) with confirmed COVID-19 infection, the two patients with KS were receiving liposomal doxorubicin hydrochloride and the other paclitaxel chemotherapy and the patient with Melanoma was receiving encorafenib and binimetinib. All COVID-19 positive patients were of low SES, 2 females and 1 male. There was a low rate of co-morbidities with hypertension in 1 COVID-19 positive patient and none in the negative group. All 3 confirmed COVID-19 patients developed severe pneumonia and were diagnosed within 7 days of the onset of symptoms. There were no COVID related deaths and one disease-related death in the negative cohort. Conclusion: There was a low rate of COVID-19 infection in the 116 skin cancer patients on SACT (2.6%) with 60% of patients on immunotherapy. All 3 confirmed cases had severe pneumonia with no COVID-19 related deaths (0%); 2 were receiving chemotherapy and 1 on targeted therapy. Patients on treatment were encouraged to shield between hospital attendances during this period which may account for the reduced rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This data supports the emerging observations that immunotherapy does not confer an increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection in cancer patients. This observation is confounded by the relatively young age and low co-morbidity rates in the cohort which may have contributed to the low infection and mortality rate.

Citation Format: Lucy Flanders, Beth Russell, Charlotte Moss, Kieran Palmer, Rushan Sylva, Gincy George, Danielle Crawley, Harriet Wylie, Fidelma Cahill, Anna Haire, Andrea D'Souza, Simon Gomberg, Richard Sullivan, Anne Rigg, Mieke Van Hemelrijck, Mark Harries, Irene De Francesco, Stephen Morris, Sophie Papa, Saiorse Dolly. COVID-19 infection and mortality in patients with skin malignancies receiving systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT): The Guy’s Cancer Centre experience [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Virtual Meeting: COVID-19 and Cancer; 2021 Feb 3-5. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Clin Cancer Res 2021;27(6_Suppl):Abstract nr P28.