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ESMO 2020: Does Immune Oncology Increase the Risk of SARS-CoV2–Related Mortality in NSCLC?

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Giuseppe Luigi Banna, MD, of Queen Alexandra and St Mary’s Hospitals, Portsmouth and Isle of Wales, United Kingdom, and colleagues discovered that treatment with immune oncology seemed to have a “scarce” impact on the risk of SARS-CoV-2–related mortality in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, several other factors—including treatment with chemotherapy and older age—appeared to be associated with a higher risk of death. Their retrospective series results were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 (Abstract 1393P).

The authors reviewed the clinical outcomes of 63 patients with NSCLC treated with first-line immune oncology alone (n = 39) or with chemotherapy (n = 24) who were infected with SARS-CoV-2. During the review period, all-cause mortality was reported in 21% of patients treated with immune oncology, and 33% of patients treated with chemotherapy plus immune oncology.

The risk of SARS-CoV-2–related mortality was significantly higher in patients receiving chemotherapy plus immune oncology compared with immune oncology alone (hazard ratio = 4.05, P = .015), with 37.5% (n = 3) versus no deaths caused by SARS-CoV-2 in each arm, respectively (P = .06). Deaths not related to SARS-CoV-2 were associated with progressive disease (n = 6) and chest infection (n = 2) in the immune-oncology arm and progressive disease (n = 5) in the chemotherapy-plus-immune-oncology arm. SARS-CoV-2–related deaths were associated with older patient age, higher performance status, smoking history, and higher baseline values of both neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio and systemic inflammatory index.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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