Front Oncol. 2020 Jul 22;10:1279. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.01279. eCollection 2020.
Background: There is insufficient evidence to support clinical decision-making for cancer patients diagnosed with COVID-19 due to the lack of large studies. Methods: We used data from a single large UK Cancer Center to assess the demographic/clinical characteristics of 156 cancer patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis between 29 February and 12 May 2020. Logistic/Cox proportional hazards models were used to identify which demographic and/or clinical characteristics were associated with COVID-19 severity/death. Results: 128 (82%) presented with mild/moderate COVID-19 and 28 (18%) with a severe case of the disease. An initial cancer diagnosis >24 months before COVID-19 [OR: 1.74 (95% CI: 0.71-4.26)], presenting with fever [6.21 (1.76-21.99)], dyspnea [2.60 (1.00-6.76)], gastro-intestinal symptoms [7.38 (2.71-20.16)], or higher levels of C-reactive protein [9.43 (0.73-121.12)] were linked with greater COVID-19 severity. During a median follow-up of 37 days, 34 patients had died of COVID-19 (22%). Being of Asian ethnicity [3.73 (1.28-10.91)], receiving palliative treatment [5.74 (1.15-28.79)], having an initial cancer diagnosis >24 months before [2.14 (1.04-4.44)], dyspnea [4.94 (1.99-12.25)], and increased CRP levels [10.35 (1.05-52.21)] were positively associated with COVID-19 death. An inverse association was observed with increased levels of albumin [0.04 (0.01-0.04)]. Conclusions: A longer-established diagnosis of cancer was associated with increased severity of infection as well as COVID-19 death, possibly reflecting the effects a more advanced malignant disease has on this infection. Asian ethnicity and palliative treatment were also associated with COVID-19 death in cancer patients.