The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses several challenges to the management of patients with leukemia. The biology of each leukemia and its corresponding treatment with conventional intensive chemotherapy, with or without targeted therapies (venetoclax, FLT3 inhibitors, IDH1/2 inhibitors, Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitors), introduce additional layers of complexity during COVID-19 high-risk periods. The knowledge about COVID-19 is accumulating rapidly. An important distinction is the prevalence of "exposure" versus "clinical infectivity," which determine the risk versus benefit of modifying potentially highly curative therapies in leukemia. At present, the rate of clinical infection is <1-2% worldwide. With a mortality rate of 1-5% in CO-VID-19 patients in the general population and potentially of >30% in patients with cancer, careful consideration should be given to the risk of COVID-19 in leukemia. Instead of reducing patient access to specialized cancer centers and modifying therapies to ones with unproven curative benefit, there is more rationale for less intensive, yet effective therapies that may require fewer clinic visits or hospitalizations. Here, we offer recommendations on the optimization of leukemia management during high-risk COVID-19 periods.
Keywords: Acute leukemia; COVID-19; Chronic leukemia; Myelodysplastic syndrome.
© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.