Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

COVID-19 and Multiple Myeloma: View From the UK Thames Valley Cancer Alliance

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2021

Findings presented in the British Journal of Haematology assert that patients with multiple myeloma may have a high risk of fatality after contracting COVID-19 than patients without multiple myeloma. The results from the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance in the United Kingdom demonstrated that systematic approaches with individualized treatment modifications are possible and may have attributed to a low incidence rate of COVID-19 among those tested, noted Karthik Ramasamy, PhD, of the Oxford University Hospitals National Health Service Trust, Oxford, England, and colleagues.

“It is therefore difficult to conclude whether patients with myeloma have a low risk of contracting the virus, whether the methods outlined in this study reduced this risk, or whether myeloma patients within our region simply adopted the recommended fastidious shielding methods,” the authors concluded.

The authors enrolled 219 patients with multiple myeloma treated within the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance during the first wave of COVID-19 (March to June 2020). Of the patients identified, 125 continued treatment, and 94 had treatment modifications.

Of the patients, six (3%) developed COVID-19 based on a SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test. During that same 3-month period, the Thames Valley region had 2,894 confirmed cases, for an incidence rate of 0.0023 cases (compared with 0.027 for patients included in the analysis).

In a follow-up period, 52 of the patients with multiple myeloma experienced disease progression (24%), and 15 died (6.8%). For those patients whose disease progressed, 34 (65%) remained in treatment, and 18 (35%) had no treatment modifications. Of the 15 patients who died, 9 had continued therapy, 5 had their treatment plans paused for up to 8 weeks, and 1 had treatment stopped altogether. Of the 13 patients for whom the cause of death was available, 8 died of multiple myeloma, and 5 died of COVID-19 infection. Only one patient with COVID-19 infection recovered and survived.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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