Antibody Response to COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines in Oncologic and Hematologic Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy

Curr Oncol. 2022 May 6;29(5):3364-3374. doi: 10.3390/curroncol29050273.


Background: Information on immune responses in cancer patients following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is still insufficient, but generally, patients had impaired serological responses, especially those with hematological malignancies. We evaluated serological response to COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy compared with healthy controls.

Methods: In total, 195 cancer patients and 400 randomly selected controls who had been administered a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in two doses were compared. The threshold of positivity was 4.33 BAU/mL. Patients were receiving anticancer treatment after the first and second dose of the vaccines.

Results: a TOTAL OF 169 patients (87%) had solid tumors and 26 hemolymphopoietic diseases. Seropositivity rate was lower in patients than controls (91% vs. 96%), with an age/gender-adjusted rate ratio (RR) of 0.95 (95% CL = 0.89-1.02). Positivity was found in 97% of solid cancers and in 50% of hemolymphopoietic tumors. Both advanced and adjuvant therapy seemed to slightly reduce seropositivity rates in patients when compared to controls (RR = 0.97, 95% CL = 0.89-1.06; RR = 0.94, 95% CL = 0.87-1.01).

Conclusions: the response to vaccination is similar in patients affected by solid tumors to controls. On the contrary, hemolymphopietic patients show a much lower response than controls.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-COV-2; antibodies; anticancer treatment; cancer; seroconversion; vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Antibody Formation
  • COVID-19 Vaccines* / immunology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • mRNA Vaccines


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • mRNA Vaccine
  • mRNA Vaccines

Grant support

This research received no external funding.