Clinical Course of COVID-19 and Cycle Threshold in Patients with Haematological Neoplasms

Prague Med Rep. 2022;123(4):250-257. doi: 10.14712/23362936.2022.23.


The SARS-CoV-2 viral load in a respiratory sample can be inversely quantified using the cycle threshold (Ct), defined as the number of amplification cycles required to detect the viral genome in a quantitative PCR assay using reverse transcriptase (RT-qPCR). It may be classified as high (Ct < 25), intermediate (25-30) and low (Ct > 30). We describe the clinical course of 3 patients with haematological neoplasms who contracted COVID-19. None of them had been vaccinated. Firstly, a 22-year-old male with a refractory acute lymphoblastic leukaemia experienced an oligosymptomatic COVID-19 and had a Ct of 23 with an ascending curve. Another male, aged 23, had recently begun treatment for a promyelocytic leukaemia. He had a subacute course with high oxygen requirements. His Ct dropped from 28, when he only experienced fever, to 14.8, during the most critical period and on the edge of ventilatory support. Viral clearance was documented 126 days after the beginning of the symptoms. Finally, a 60-year-old male had received rituximab as maintenance therapy for a follicular lymphoma 3 months before contracting COVID-19. He had a fulminant course and required mechanical ventilation a few days later. We highlight the association between the course of CoViD-19 and the Ct. Viral shedding was longer than in immunocompetent hosts.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cycle threshold; Haematological neoplasms; SARS-COV-2.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms* / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms*
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Young Adult


  • RNA, Viral