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15-03-2021 | Oncology | News | Article

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SARS-CoV-2 shedding may be prolonged in advanced solid cancer patients

Lynda Williams

medwireNews: An early study of viral shedding in solid cancer patients with COVID-19 suggests that advanced tumors may be associated with prolonged infection compared with early-stage disease.

Jacobo Rogado, from Hospital Universitario Infanta Leonor in Madrid, Spain, and co-workers monitored 48 cancer patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on a nasopharyngeal reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test until they achieved a negative result or a positive IgG antibody test. The majority of the patients had lung or breast cancer.

It took a median 28 days for the 41 patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease to achieve the desired outcome versus 15 days for the seven patients with localized tumors, with 53.6% and 14.2%, respectively, having a positive RT-PCR on day 25 or beyond. However, neither result was statistically significant.

As reported in a letter to the editor of the European Journal of Cancer, the researchers did not find a correlation between duration of viral shedding and patient age, sex, tumor type, or type of COVID-19 treatment received.

“[W]e observed that patients with advanced cancer at COVID-19 diagnosis have a greater risk of continuing to present positive RT-PCR with prolonged COVID-19 symptoms, similar to that observed in hematological patients undergoing transplant or CAR-T cell therapy,” Rogado et al comment.

The team recommends reviewing “current management recommendations in oncological patients to define when it is safe to finish isolation as well as to restart treatment.”

And noting that 14.6% of patients experienced viral reactivation, including four who had started their first round of chemotherapy after COVID-19 recovery, the authors conclude that “there is a need for further research in reactivations, especially in advanced cancer patients, hematologic and lung cancer patients, as they have had the worst prognosis in published series.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

15 March 2021: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Eur J Cancer 2021; doi: org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.011

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