COVID-19 in persons with haematological cancers

Leukemia. 2020 Jun;34(6):1637-1645. doi: 10.1038/s41375-020-0836-7. Epub 2020 Apr 24.


Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the cause of coronavirus infectious disease-19 (COVID-19), has caused a pandemic with >850,000 cases worldwide and increasing. Several studies report outcomes of COVID-19 in predominately well persons. There are also some data on COVID-19 in persons with predominately solid cancer but controversy whether these persons have the same outcomes. We conducted a cohort study at two centres in Wuhan, China, of 128 hospitalised subjects with haematological cancers, 13 (10%) of whom developed COVID-19. We also studied 226 health care providers, 16 of whom developed COVID-19 and 11 of whom were hospitalised. Co-variates were compared with the 115 subjects with haematological cancers without COVID-19 and with 11 hospitalised health care providers with COVID-19. There were no significant differences in baseline co-variates between subjects with haematological cancers developing or not developing COVID-19. Case rates for COVID-19 in hospitalised subjects with haematological cancers was 10% (95% Confidence Interval [CI], 6, 17%) compared with 7% (4, 12%; P = 0.322) in health care providers. However, the 13 subjects with haematological cancers had more severe COVID-19 and more deaths compared with hospitalised health care providers with COVID-19. Case fatality rates were 62% (32, 85%) and 0 (0, 32%; P = 0.002). Hospitalised persons with haematological cancers have a similar case rate of COVID-19 compared with normal health care providers but have more severe disease and a higher case fatality rate. Because we were unable to identify specific risk factors for COVID-19 in hospitalised persons with haematological cancers, we suggest increased surveillance and possible protective isolation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Young Adult