The exclusion of patients with cancer in clinical trials evaluating COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and safety, in combination with the high rate of severe infections, highlights the need for optimizing vaccination strategies. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the published available data from prospective and retrospective cohort studies that included patients with either solid or hematological malignancies according to the PRISMA Guidelines. A literature search was performed in the following databases: Medline (Pubmed), Scopus, Clinicaltrials.gov, EMBASE, CENTRAL and Google Scholar. Overall, 70 studies were included for the first and second vaccine dose and 60 studies for the third dose. The Effect Size (ES) of the seroconversion rate after the first dose was 0.41 (95%CI: 0.33-0.50) for hematological malignancies and 0.56 (95%CI: 0.47-0.64) for solid tumors. The seroconversion rates after the second dose were 0.62 (95%CI: 0.57-0.67) for hematological malignancies and 0.88 (95%CI: 0.82-0.93) for solid tumors. After the third dose, the ES for seroconversion was estimated at 0.63 (95%CI: 0.54-0.72) for hematological cancer and 0.88 (95%CI: 0.75-0.97) for solid tumors. A subgroup analysis was performed to evaluate potential factors affecting immune response. Production of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was found to be more affected in patients with hematological malignancies, which was attributed to the type of malignancy and treatment with monoclonal antibodies according to the subgroup analyses. Overall, this study highlights that patients with cancer present suboptimal humoral responses after COVID-19 vaccination. Several factors including timing of vaccination in relevance with active therapy, type of therapy, and type of cancer should be considered throughout the immunization process.

  • Adults
  • Older adults
  • Vaccine/vaccination
  • COVID-19
  • Efficacy/effectiveness