Background: Patients with hematological malignancies are at an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19) and adverse outcome. However, a low mortality rate has been reported in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Preclinical evidence suggests that tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) may have a protective role against severe COVID-19.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 564 consecutive patients with CML who were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM antibodies at their first outpatient visit between May and early November 2020 in five hematologic centers representative of three Italian regions.
Results: The estimated serological prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with CML after the first pandemic wave was similar to that in the general population (about 2%), both at national and regional levels. CML patients with positive anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology were more frequently male (p = 0.027) and active workers (p = 0.012), while there was no significant association with TKI treatment type. Only 3 out of 11 IgG-positive patients had previously received a molecular diagnosis of COVID-19, while the remainders were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
Conclusions: Our data confirm that the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with CML is generally mild and reassure about the safety of continuing TKIs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we suggest that patients with CML succeed to mount an antibody response after exposure to SARS-CoV-2, similar to the general population.
Keywords: COVID-19; TKIs; chronic myeloid leukemia; prevalence; serological tests.
© 2021 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.