Risk of COVID‐19 in patients with cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors – The Oncologist

Objective

To determine the rate of coronavirus disease‐19 (COVID‐19) among patients with cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).

Methods

Retrospective study of 1,545 patients with cancer treated with ICIs between July 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020 and 20,418 age‐, sex‐, and cancer category‐matched controls in a large referral hospital system. Confirmed COVID‐19 case and mortality data were obtained with Massachusetts Department of Public Health from March 1 through June 19, 2020.

Results

The mean age was 66.6 years and 41.9% were female. There were 22 (1.4%) and 213 (1.0%) COVID‐19 cases in the ICI and control groups, respectively. When adjusting for demographics, medical comorbidities, and local infection rates, ICIs did not increase COVID‐19 susceptibility.

Conclusion

ICIs did not increase the rate of COVID‐19. This information may assist patients and their oncologists in decision‐making surrounding cancer treatment during this pandemic.