Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected cancer services. Our objective was to determine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on decision making and the resulting outcomes for patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial tumors.
Methods: We performed a multicenter prospective study of all adult patients discussed in weekly neuro-oncology and skull base multidisciplinary team meetings who had a newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial (excluding pituitary) tumor between 01 April and 31 May 2020. All patients had at least 30-day follow-up data. Descriptive statistical reporting was used.
Results: There were 1357 referrals for newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial tumors across 15 neuro-oncology centers. Of centers with all intracranial tumors, a change in initial management was reported in 8.6% of cases (n = 104/1210). Decisions to change the management plan reduced over time from a peak of 19% referrals at the start of the study to 0% by the end of the study period. Changes in management were reported in 16% (n = 75/466) of cases previously recommended for surgery and 28% of cases previously recommended for chemotherapy (n = 20/72). The reported SARS-CoV-2 infection rate was similar in surgical and non-surgical patients (2.6% vs. 2.4%, P > .9).
Conclusions: Disruption to neuro-oncology services in the UK caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was most marked in the first month, affecting all diagnoses. Patients considered for chemotherapy were most affected. In those recommended surgical treatment this was successfully completed. Longer-term outcome data will evaluate oncological treatments received by these patients and overall survival.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press, the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the European Association of Neuro-Oncology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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