Impact of COVID -19 in cancer patients on severity of disease and fatal outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020 Sep-Oct;14(5):1431-1437. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2020.07.037. Epub 2020 Jul 28.


Background and aimsbackground: Currently there is limited knowledge on cancer and COVID-19; we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the impact of cancer on serious events including ICU admission rate and mortality in COVID 19.

Methods: PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials were searched on April 16, 2020, to extract published articles that reported the outcomes of cancer in COVID-19 patients. The search terms were "coronavirus" and "clinical characteristics" with no language or time restrictions. We identified 512 published results and 13 studies were included in the analysis.

Results: There were 3775 patients, of whom 63 (1·66%) had a cancer. The pooled estimates of ICU admission in COVID 19 patients with and without cancer were 40% versus 8·42%.The odds ratio of ICU admission rates between the cancer and non-cancer groups was 2.88 with a 95% CI of 1·18 to 7·01 (p = 0·026). The pooled estimates of death rate in COVID -19 patients with and without cancer were 20·83% versus 7·82%. The odds ratio of death rates between the cancer and non-cancer groups was 2.25 with a 95% CI ranging from 0·71 to 7·10 with p value of 0·166. The pooled prevalence of cancer patients was 2% (95 CI 1-4).

Conclusions: Presence of cancer in COVID-19 leads to higher risk of developing serious events i.e. ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and mortality. The presence of cancer has a significant impact on mortality rate in COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cancer; Corona disease; ICU Stay; Mortality rate; Non cancer; Oncology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality
  • Critical Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality
  • Prevalence
  • SARS-CoV-2