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COVID-19 and CML: Patient Survey Results From China

By: Jenna Carter, PhD
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2020

Data suggest that persons with cancer may be more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and ultimately COVID-19 than individuals without cancer. However, the data surrounding CML are controversial, as not all persons with CML are immunocompromised despite receiving tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. In a recent article published in Leukemia, Qian Jiang, MD, of Peking University People’s Hospital, China, and colleagues conducted a survey of more than 2,000 people with CML in China.

Their findings revealed several co-variates associated with an increased risk to develop COVID-19 in this patient population. However, “…the absolute case rate is very low and the clinical features are similar to [those in persons without CML],” stated Dr. Liang and colleagues.

A total of 551 patients with CML receiving TKI therapy were recruited from 29 cancer centers in Hubei province. Patients or their families completed an online questionnaire, which assessed CML diagnosis, disease phase, monitoring, and response to TKI therapy. A COVID-19 diagnosis was confirmed by qualitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.

The authors found four confirmed cases and one probable case of COVID-19 infection. Co-variates associated with an increased risk of developing COVID-19 were exposure to someone infected with SARS-CoV-2 (P = .037), no complete hematologic response (P = .003), and co-morbidities (P = .024). Participants with advanced phase CML also had an increased risk of developing COVID-19 (P = .004).

Furthermore, the type of TKI therapy may be associated with the risk for COVID-19. Of the 21 patients receiving third-generation TKIs, 1 developed COVID-19 versus 3 of 346 patients receiving imatinib and 0 of 162 patients receiving second-generation TKIs (P = .096). Additionally, there was no associated risk between age and duration of TKI therapy.

Based on their findings, Dr. Liang and colleagues concluded: “Persons with these risk factors may benefit from increased surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infection and possible protective isolation.”

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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