The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) confirmed that those with immunocompromised systems, including patients with cancer, are at greater risk for serious outcomes or death after contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus.

OCE analyzed more than 200,000 health records of patients with cancer who tested positive for COVID-19. The analysis, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s COVID-19 and Cancer meeting, found that patients with cancer who also have COVID-19 have increased rates of:

  • Other health conditions (kidney failure, obesity, heart disease, etc.)
  • Hospitalization and invasive mechanical ventilation
  • Mortality

“The data revealed a stark reality that people with cancer are at an increased risk of more serious outcomes from COVID-19 but also that there are inequities for black Americans and those of lower socioeconomic means,” Harpreet Singh, MD, associate director of the OCE’s cancer in older adults and special populations at OCE, said. “It’s imperative that we continue to rapidly examine real-world data to address the urgent health care challenges brought on by this pandemic. 

Oncology nurses understand that an intrusion into the care and treatment of cancer can be devastating. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on those regimens, putting patients at risk and raising levels of stress during an already challenging time. Efforts are underway by FDA and its partners to find real-world solutions.

“OCE continues to engage with stakeholders and collaborate with partners on opportunities to apply data from diverse sources to inform its understanding of COVID-19 in people with cancer,” FDA said.