Clinical characteristics, outcomes, and risk factors for mortality in patients with cancer and COVID-19 in Hubei, China: a multicentre, retrospective, cohort study

Lancet Oncol. 2020 Jul;21(7):904-913. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30310-7. Epub 2020 May 29.


Background: Patients with cancer are a high-risk population in the COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed to describe clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with cancer and COVID-19, and examined risk factors for mortality in this population.

Methods: We did a retrospective, multicentre, cohort study of 205 patients with laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and with a pathological diagnosis of a malignant tumour in nine hospitals within Hubei, China, from Jan 13 to March 18, 2020. All patients were either discharged from hospitals or had died by April 20, 2020. Clinical characteristics, laboratory data, and cancer histories were compared between survivors and non-survivors by use of χ2 test. Risk factors for mortality were identified by univariable and multivariable logistic regression models.

Findings: Between Jan 13 and Mar 18, 2020, 205 patients with cancer and laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were enrolled (median age 63 years [IQR 56-70; range 14-96]; 109 [53%] women). 183 (89%) had solid tumours and 22 (11%) had haematological malignancies. The median duration of follow-up was 68 days (IQR 59-78). The most common solid tumour types were breast (40 [20%] patients), colorectal (28 [14%]), and lung cancer (24 [12%]). 54 (30%) of 182 patients received antitumour therapies within 4 weeks before symptom onset. 30 (15%) of 205 patients were transferred to an intensive care unit and 40 (20%) died during hospital admission. Patients with haematological malignancies had poorer prognoses than did those with solid tumours: nine (41%) of 22 patients with haematological malignancies died versus 31 (17%) of 183 patients with solid tumours (hazard ratio for death 3·28 [95% CI 1·56-6·91]; log rank p=0·0009). Multivariable regression analysis showed that receiving chemotherapy within 4 weeks before symptom onset (odds ratio [OR] 3·51 [95% CI 1·16-10·59]; p=0·026) and male sex (OR 3·86 [95% CI 1·57-9·50]; p=0·0033) were risk factors for death during admission to hospital.

Interpretation: Patients with cancer and COVID-19 who were admitted to hospital had a high case-fatality rate. Unfavourable prognostic factors, including receiving chemotherapy within 4 weeks before symptom onset and male sex, might help clinicians to identify patients at high risk of fatal outcomes.

Funding: National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult