BACKGROUND: Cancer patients suffer from worse coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outcomes. Whether active oncologic treatment is an additional risk factor in this population remains unclear. Therefore, here we have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the existing evidence for the effect of active oncologic treatment on COVID-19 outcomes. METHODS: Systematic search of databases (PubMed, Embase) was conducted for studies published from inception to July 1, 2020, with a subsequent search update conducted on 10 October 2020. In addition, abstracts and presentations from major conference proceedings (ASCO, ESMO, AACR) as well as pre-print databases (medxriv, bioxriv) were searched. Retrospective and prospective studies reporting clinical outcomes in cancer patients with laboratory confirmation or clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 and details of active or recent oncologic treatment were selected. Random-effects model was applied throughout meta-analyses. Summary outcome measure was the pooled odds ratio (OR) of death for active cancer therapy versus no active cancer therapy for each of the following modalities: recent surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or chemoimmunotherapy. RESULTS: Sixteen retrospective and prospective studies (3558 patients) were included in the meta-analysis. Active chemotherapy was associated with higher risk of death compared to no active chemotherapy (OR, 1.60, 95% CI, 1.14-2.23). No significant association with risk of death was identified for active targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chemoimmunotherapy, or recent surgery. Meta-analysis of multivariate adjusted OR of death for active chemotherapy was consistently associated with higher risk of death compared to no active chemotherapy (OR, 1.42, 95% CI, 1.01-2.01). CONCLUSIONS: Active chemotherapy appears to be associated with higher risk of death in cancer patients with COVID-19. Further research is necessary to characterize the complex interactions between active cancer treatment and COVID-19.

  • All age groups
  • Risk factor
  • COVID-19