The COVID-19 Pandemic and its Impact on the Cardio-Oncology Population

Curr Oncol Rep. 2020 May 28;22(6):60. doi: 10.1007/s11912-020-00945-4.

Abstract

Purpose of review: The novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV, COVID-19) is historically one of the most severe acute respiratory syndromes and pandemics to affect the globe in the twenty-first century. Originating in Wuhan, the virus rapidly spread and impacted subsets of populations with initial unclear risk factors contributing to worsening morbidity and mortality. Patients with diagnosis of cancer and undergoing treatment further represent a population at risk for worsening cardiopulmonary outcomes. This review explores specific risk factors, diagnoses, and treatment options that impact cardio-oncologic patients with COVID-19.

Recent findings: Multiple studies globally, including Italy, China, and the USA, have documented severe outcomes. Cancer patients are at increased risk of cardiac injury which itself is a risk factor for mortality. Additionally, elderly cancer patients undergoing recent anti-cancer treatment may be at greater risk for sustaining worse outcomes, although data remains suboptimal in this population. Major gaps remain regarding risk associated with type of cancer and type of anti-cancer treatment, as well as the layered risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Immunomodulatory therapies used to treat cytokine release syndrome secondary to anti-cancer therapies, as well as other agents being traditionally used to treat cardiovascular and cancer disease states, are being investigated for treatment of COVID-19. Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer have been associated with more severe COVID-19 infection and worse outcomes. Patients undergoing anti-cancer therapy or those who have suffered from coronavirus infection may develop long-standing changes, not limited to pulmonary fibrosis, hyperlipidemia, and worsening atherosclerosis. Those undergoing anti-cancer therapy are at theoretically increased susceptibility for infection, with type of cancer not necessarily dictating outcome. A review of the literature of patients with cardiovascular and/or cancer disease is presented, as well as proposed strategies to attenuate risk regarding treatment, management, and surveillance in this vulnerable population.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cancer; Cardio-oncology; Cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / physiology
  • Cardiology
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / statistics & numerical data
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • Risk Factors

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2