The BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents and young adults with cancer: A monocentric experience

Eur J Cancer. 2021 Sep:154:30-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.06.002. Epub 2021 Jun 23.


Background and aims: COVID-19 infection in paediatric patients with cancer is severe or critical in 20% of the patients. It can therefore directly affect paediatric patients with cancer and/or their care. We aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents and young adults (AYA) with solid tumour.

Methods: This study includes a retrospective analysis of safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine administered to patients, ≥16 years old, under treatment for a solid tumour or within 6 months after treatment from 15th February 2021 to 15th April 2021. Two administrations of the vaccine 3 weeks apart were given. Sera were tested for anti-SARS-Cov-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies directed against the S1 domain of the spike protein. In case of positive serology, neutralisation of SARS-Cov-2 was tested.

Results: Twenty-three patients with solid tumours were identified and proposed to get vaccinated. Nine patients refused, and 1 previously developed COVID-19 infection with positive serology. At the time of writing, 13 patients (10 M/2 F; median age: 17) started vaccination. All patients received 2 injections except 2 patients who stopped vaccination because of tumour progression. Ten patients were under treatment (alone or in combination: chemotherapy: 7 patients [pts], immunotherapy: 2 pts, targeted therapy: 3 pts, follow-up: 3 patients). Overall, vaccines were well tolerated. Five patients did not report any side-effects after the first injection and 4 after the second injection. The main local reactivity symptom was mild pain at the site of injection (6 and 2 pts). Fatigue (2 pts and 5 pts) was the most frequent systemic symptom. One patient refused serology testing. All patients but 1 had pre-vaccination negative serology; 7 of 10 patients tested had positive serology before second vaccine injection, and 9 of 10 patients had positive serology one month after the second injection. All patients with seroconversion had positive COVID-19 neutralisation test. No patient developed COVID infections.

Conclusions: We report the good safety profile and good efficacy of the BNT162B2 vaccine in AYA with solid tumours. Larger series and monitoring of the kinetics of anti-Sars-Cov-2 IgG antibodies for several months are mandatory to confirm these preliminary results and to determine long-term vaccination.

Keywords: AYA; Covid-19; Oncology; Paediatric oncology; Serology; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • BNT162 Vaccine
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / adverse effects
  • France
  • Humans
  • Immunization* / adverse effects
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • BNT162 Vaccine