Cancer & COVID-19  

Risk factors for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) severity and mortality among solid cancer patients and impact of the disease on anticancer treatment: A French nationwide cohort study (GCO-002 CACOVID-19) - PDF Version

Lièvre A, Turpin A, Ray-Coquard I, Le Malicot K, Thariat J, Ahle G, Neuzillet C, Paoletti X, Bouché O, Aldabbagh K, Michel P, Debieuvre D, Canellas A, Wislez M, Laurent L, Mabro M, Colle R, Hardy-Bessard AC, Mansi L, Colomba E, Bourhis J, Gorphe P, Pointreau Y, Idbaih A, Ursu R, Di Stefano AL, Zalcman G, Aparicio T; GCO-002 CACOVID-19 collaborators/investigators.  

Eur J Cancer. 2020 Oct 8;141:62-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2020.09.035. Online ahead of print. 
PMID: 33129039 


Cancer patients are thought to have an increased risk of developing severe Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and of dying from the disease. In this work, predictive factors for COVID-19 severity and mortality in cancer patients were investigated. 


In this large nationwide retro-prospective cohort study, we collected data on patients with solid tumours and COVID-19 diagnosed between March 1 and 11th June 2020. The primary end-point was all-cause mortality and COVID-19 severity, defined as admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) and/or mechanical ventilation and/or death, was one of the secondary end-points. 


From 4 April  to 11 June 2020, 1289 patients were analysed. The most frequent cancers were digestive and thoracic. Altogether, 424 (33%) patients had a severe form of COVID-19 and 370 (29%) patients died. In multivariate analysis, independent factors associated with death were male sex (odds ratio 1.73, 95%CI: 1.18–2.52), The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Scale (ECOG PS) ≥ 2 (OR 3.23, 95%CI: 2.27–4.61), updated Charlson comorbidity index (OR 1.08, 95%CI: 1.01–1.16) and admission to ICU (OR 3.62, 95%CI 2.14–6.11). The same factors, age along with corticosteroids before COVID-19 diagnosis, and thoracic primary tumour site were independently associated with COVID-19 severity. None of the anticancer treatments administered within the previous three months had any effect on mortality or COVID-19 severity, except for cytotoxic chemotherapy in the subgroup of patients with detectable severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which was associated with a slight increase of the risk of death (OR 1.53; 95%CI: 1.00–2.34; p = 0.05). A total of 431 (39%) patients had their systemic anticancer treatment (such as chemotherapy, targeted or immune therapy) interrupted or stopped following diagnosis of COVID-19. 


Mortality and COVID-19 severity in cancer patients are high and are associated with general characteristics of patients. We found no deleterious effects of recent anticancer treatments, except for cytotoxic chemotherapy in the RT-PCR-confirmed subgroup of patients. In almost 40% of patients, the systemic anticancer therapy was interrupted or stopped after COVID-19 diagnosis.