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AACR COVID-19: Study Finds Age-Related Differences for Survival

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Older patients with solid tumors, including lung cancer, appeared to have similar rates of clinical worsening as younger patients, despite differences in clinical presentation, according to a presentation during the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 and Cancer (Abstract PO-030). However, older patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection had a worse overall survival as compared with younger patients, according to Laurence Albiges, MD, PhD, of the Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif, France, and colleagues.

A total of 137 patients with cancer and suspected of a positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent COVID-19 testing. Patients with positive COVID-19 tests were assessed based on their clinical management and overall outcomes.

The investigators reported that the most common cancers identified were solid tumors (92%). These tumors encompassed multiple organ systems, including gastrointestinal (19%), lung (17%), gynecologic (14%), and head/neck (14%). In addition, identification of SARS-CoV-2 infection by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (97%) and thoracic CT (3%) revealed an increased number of cases in older patients (92%) as compared with younger patients (8%).

Furthermore, the timing and presentation of COVID-19 related symptoms varied between older and younger patients. These symptoms included cough and sputum production (14% in older patients vs. 5% in younger patients), dyspnea (39% vs. 31%), diarrhea (17% vs. 9%), shivers (8% vs. 0%), and sore throat (8% vs. 4%). Moreover, 29% of older patients demonstrated clinical deterioration. Clinical worsening was not impacted by the patients’ age, as older and younger patients had similar disease progression (hazard ratio = 1.157). However, patient age did lead to worse overall survival for older patients (hazard ratio = 2.45).

Disclosure: No information regarding conflicts of interest was provided.



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