Background: Cancer patients are at increased risk of death from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Cancer and its treatment affect many haematological and biochemical parameters, therefore we analysed these prior to and during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and correlated them with outcome.
Patients and methods: Consecutive patients with cancer testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in centres throughout the United Kingdom were identified and entered into a database following local governance approval. Clinical and longitudinal laboratory data were extracted from patient records. Data were analysed using Mann-Whitney U test, Fisher's exact test, Wilcoxon signed rank test, logistic regression, or linear regression for outcomes. Hierarchical clustering of heatmaps was performed using Ward's method.
Results: In total, 302 patients were included in three cohorts: Manchester (n = 67), Liverpool (n = 62), and UK (n = 173). In the entire cohort (N = 302), median age was 69 (range 19-93 years), including 163 males and 139 females; of these, 216 were diagnosed with a solid tumour and 86 with a haematological cancer. Preinfection lymphopaenia, neutropaenia and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were not associated with oxygen requirement (O2) or death. Lymphocyte count (P < 0.001), platelet count (P = 0.03), LDH (P < 0.0001) and albumin (P < 0.0001) significantly changed from preinfection to during infection. High rather than low neutrophils at day 0 (P = 0.007), higher maximal neutrophils during COVID-19 (P = 0.026) and higher neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR; P = 0.01) were associated with death. In multivariable analysis, age (P = 0.002), haematological cancer (P = 0.034), C-reactive protein (P = 0.004), NLR (P = 0.036) and albumin (P = 0.02) at day 0 were significant predictors of death. In the Manchester/Liverpool cohort 30 patients have restarted therapy following COVID-19, with no additional complications requiring readmission.
Conclusion: Preinfection biochemical/haematological parameters were not associated with worse outcome in cancer patients. Restarting treatment following COVID-19 was not associated with additional complications. Neutropaenia due to cancer/treatment is not associated with COVID-19 mortality. Cancer therapy, particularly in patients with solid tumours, need not be delayed or omitted due to concerns that treatment itself increases COVID-19 severity.
Lee, R., Wysocki, O., Bhogal, T., Shotton, R., Tivey, A., Angelakas, A., Aung, T., Banfill, K., Baxter, M., Boyce, H., Brearton, G., Copson, E., Dickens, E., Eastlake, L., Gomes, F., Hague, C., Harrison, M., Horsley, L., Huddar, P., Hudson, Z., Khan, S., Khan, U., Maynard, A., McKenzie, H., Palmer, D., Robinson, T., Rowe, M., Thomas, A., Tweedy, J., Sheehan, R., Stockdale, A., Weaver, J., Williams, S., Wilson, C., Zhou, C., Dive, C., Cooksley, T., Palmieri, C., Freitas, A. & Armstrong, A. 2021, 'Longitudinal characterisation of haematological and biochemical parameters in cancer patients prior to and during COVID-19 reveals features associated with outcome', ESMO Open, 6(1), article no: 100005. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esmoop.2020.100005