Background: Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who have underlying malignancy have a higher mortality rate compared with those without cancer, although the magnitude of such excess risk is not clearly defined. We performed a systematic review and pooled analysis to provide precise estimates of the mortality rate among patients with both cancer and COVID-19.
Methods: A systematic literature search involving peer-reviewed publications, preprints and conference proceedings up to July 16, 2020, was performed. The primary end-point was the case fatality rate (CFR), defined as the rate of death among patients with cancer and COVID-19. The CFR was assessed with a random effects model, which was used to derive a pooled CFR and its 95% confidence interval (CI).
Results: Fifty-two studies, involving a total of 18,650 patients with both COVID-19 and cancer, were selected for the pooled analysis. A total of 4243 deaths were recorded in this population. The probability of death was 25.6% (95% CI: 22.0%-29.5%; I2 = 48.9%) in this patient population.
Conclusions: Patients with cancer who develop COVID-19 have high probability of mortality. Appropriate and aggressive preventive measures must be taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in patients with cancer and to optimally manage those who do contract the infection.
Keywords: CFR; COVID-19; Cancer; Death rate; Malignancy; Mortality; Pandemic; SARS-CoV-2.
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