COVID-19 outcomes in haematopoietic cell transplant recipients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

EJHaem. 2022 Jun 14;3(3):862-872. doi: 10.1002/jha2.465. eCollection 2022 Aug.


Up-to-date information on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes and risk factors in haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) recipients is required to inform on decisions about cancer treatment and COVID-19 mitigation strategies. We performed a meta-analysis to address this knowledge gap. All studies with at least five patients who reported COVID-19-related deaths in HCT recipients were included. The primary outcome was COVID-19-related death. Secondary outcomes were COVID-19-related mechanical ventilation (MV) and intensive care unit (ITU) admission. The cumulative COVID-19-related death rate among HCT recipients was 21% (95% confidence interval [CI] 18%-24%), while MV and ITU admission rates were 14% (95% CI 11%-17%) and 18% (95% CI 14%-22%), respectively. Subgroup analysis showed higher death rates in patients who developed COVID-19 within 12 months of HCT (risk ratio [RR] 1.82, 95% CI 1.09-3.03), within 6 months of receiving immunosuppressant drugs (RR 2.11, 95% CI 1.38-3.20) or in the context of active graft-versus-host disease (RR 2.38, 95% CI 1.10-5.16). Our findings support the idea that HCT should remain an integral part of cancer treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic but also highlight the need to prioritise preventative measures in those patients who are at increased risk of adverse COVID-19 outcomes.

Keywords: COVID‐19; SCT; stem cell transplantation.