Current perspectives for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination efficacy improvement in patients with active treatment against cancer

Eur J Cancer. 2021 Sep:154:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2021.06.008. Epub 2021 Jun 18.


A higher risk of death from coronavirus disease 19 has been shown for patients with solid cancers or haematological malignancies (HM). Thanks to the accelerated development of anti-SARS-SoV-2 vaccines in less than a year since the start of the global pandemic, patients with cancer were quickly prioritised in early 2021 for vaccination, however dependent on the very unequal availability at the global level. Impaired immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines in immunocompromised patients was rapidly reported as early as April 2021, although the vaccination fortunately appears to be generally effective without increasing the spacing. Worryingly, the humoral response of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is, however, considered insufficient in patients followed for HM, in particular when they are on anti-CD20 treatment. Thus, improving vaccination coverage by strengthening immune stimulation should be evaluated in patients under active treatment against cancer. Here, we discuss three different approaches: a third dose of early vaccine (repeated immune stimulation), heterologous prime-boost vaccination (multimodal immune stimulation) and a double-dose strategy (maximisation of immune response). Dedicated therapeutic trials, currently almost non-existent, seem rapidly necessary.

Keywords: ARNm; COVID-19; Cancer; Double-dose; Heterologous prime-boost vaccination; Immunogenicity; SARS-CoV-2 vaccination; Third dose; Tumours; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Cause of Death
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccination* / adverse effects
  • Vaccination* / mortality


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines