Background: Patients with cancer have an increased risk of complications from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination to prevent COVID-19 is recommended, but data on the immunogenicity and safety of COVID-19 vaccines for patients with solid tumours receiving systemic cancer treatment are scarce. Therefore, we aimed to assess the impact of immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and chemoimmunotherapy on the immunogenicity and safety of the mRNA-1273 (Moderna Biotech, Madrid, Spain) COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Vaccination Against COVID in Cancer (VOICE) trial.
Methods: This prospective, multicentre, non-inferiority trial was done across three centres in the Netherlands. Individuals aged 18 years or older with a life expectancy of more than 12 months were enrolled into four cohorts: individuals without cancer (cohort A [control cohort]), and patients with solid tumours, regardless of stage and histology, treated with immunotherapy (cohort B), chemotherapy (cohort C), or chemoimmunotherapy (cohort D). Participants received two mRNA-1273 vaccinations of 100 μg in 0·5 mL intramuscularly, 28 days apart. The primary endpoint, analysed per protocol (excluding patients with a positive baseline sample [>10 binding antibody units (BAU)/mL], indicating previous SARS-CoV-2 infection), was defined as the SARS-CoV-2 spike S1-specific IgG serum antibody response (ie, SARS-CoV-2-binding antibody concentration of >10 BAU/mL) 28 days after the second vaccination. For the primary endpoint analysis, a non-inferiority design with a margin of 10% was used. We also assessed adverse events in all patients who received at least one vaccination, and recorded solicited adverse events in participants who received at least one vaccination but excluding those who already had seroconversion (>10 BAU/mL) at baseline. This study is ongoing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04715438.
Findings: Between Feb 17 and March 12, 2021, 791 participants were enrolled and followed up for a median of 122 days (IQR 118 to 128). A SARS-CoV-2-binding antibody response was found in 240 (100%; 95% CI 98 to 100) of 240 evaluable participants in cohort A, 130 (99%; 96 to >99) of 131 evaluable patients in cohort B, 223 (97%; 94 to 99) of 229 evaluable patients in cohort C, and 143 (100%; 97 to 100) of 143 evaluable patients in cohort D. The SARS-CoV-2-binding antibody response in each patient cohort was non-inferior compared with cohort A. No new safety signals were observed. Grade 3 or worse serious adverse events occurred in no participants in cohort A, three (2%) of 137 patients in cohort B, six (2%) of 244 patients in cohort C, and one (1%) of 163 patients in cohort D, with four events (two of fever, and one each of diarrhoea and febrile neutropenia) potentially related to the vaccination. There were no vaccine-related deaths.
Interpretation: Most patients with cancer develop, while receiving chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or both for a solid tumour, an adequate antibody response to vaccination with the mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is also safe in these patients. The minority of patients with an inadequate response after two vaccinations might benefit from a third vaccination.
Funding: ZonMw, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.
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