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10-07-2020 | COVID-19 | News

News in brief

Cancer associated with COVID-19 mortality risk in large UK study

Author:
Claire Barnard

medwireNews: A large UK study using the OpenSAFELY analytics platform has found that people with cancer, particularly those with hematologic malignancies, may have an elevated risk for COVID-19-related death.

As reported in Nature, Ben Goldacre (University of Oxford, UK) and co-researchers analyzed pseudonymized primary care data from 17,278,392 adults, 10,926 (0.06%) of whom died and had COVID-19 recorded on their death certificate.

For non-hematologic malignancies, COVID-19 death rates were 0.28% for the 79,964 people with a cancer diagnosis less than 1 year previously, and 0.19% for the 234,186 with a diagnosis between 1 and 4.9 years previously, translating into significant hazard ratios (HRs) of 1.72 and 1.15, respectively, relative to people without cancer on multivariable analysis. The 542,320 patients with non-hematologic malignancy diagnosed at least 5 years ago did not have an elevated COVID-19 mortality risk.

The rates of COVID-19-related death for people with hematologic malignancies diagnosed less than 1 year (n=8704), 1–4.9 years (n=27,742), and at least 5 years ago (n=63,460) were 0.49%, 0.43%, and 0.27%, respectively. Patients in all three groups had a significantly elevated COVID-19 mortality risk compared with those without cancer, with corresponding HRs of 2.82, 2.47, and 1.62.

The study also confirmed that older age, male sex, Black and South Asian ethnicity, and a range of comorbidities were linked to COVID-19 mortality risk.

These findings “may be used subsequently to inform the development of prognostic models,” say Goldacre and team, but they “caution against interpreting [the] estimates as causal effects.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

10 July 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Nature 2020; doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2521-4

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