Real world outcomes in cancer patients with COVID-19 infection: Northern Ireland experience

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Background: Cancer has been assumed to be associated with a high-risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. Protective measures have incorporated modifications in cancer treatments. There are conflicting data about the impact of COVID-19 infection and outcomes in cancer patients. We aim to describe the impact of demographic and clinical characteristics on COVID-19 outcomes in patients with cancer in Northern Ireland reported within the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project (UKCCMP). Method: Prospective data collection including demographics, cancer stage and type, treatment and outcomes occurred for all Northern Irish patients enrolled in the UKCCMP. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were performed using SPSSv25.ResultsBetween March 2020 and March 2021, 110 cases were registered. Median age was 63 years (range 27 to 87). Seventy patients (63.6%) were >60 years and 59 (53.8%) were females. Co-morbidities were reported in 83 patients (72.7%). Most patients had metastatic disease (64, 58.2%). Sixty-seven patients (60.9%) received anticancer treatment in the 4 weeks prior to COVID-19 infection. Of those patients, 35 (52.2%) received chemotherapy. Thirty-nine patients (58.2%) continued treatment as planned; 24 (36.9%) stopped treatment due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The majority of patients were asymptomatic or experienced mild symptoms (67, 60.9%). Fifty-one (46.3%%) were admitted to hospital for COVID-19. Risk of severe/critical COVID-19 disease was significantly associated with age (OR 1.07 [95% CI 1.03-1.11); p=0.004), pre-existing hypertension (OR 3.29 [95% CI 1.42-7.62]; p=0.02) and thoracic primary malignancy (OR 4.41 [95% CI 1.52-12.74]; p=0.042). Twenty-nine patients (26.3%) died of whom 15 (57.7%) died of COVID-19 and 13 (44.8%) died due to cancer. Risk of death was significantly associated with age (OR 1.05 [95% CI 1.01-1.09]; p=0.014), male sex (OR 3.76 [95% CI 1.51-9.34]; p=0.008) and thoracic primary malignancy (OR 5.35 [95% CI 1.88-15.25]; p=0.014). When corrected for age, gender and co-morbidities, chemotherapy within the past 4 weeks was not significantly associated with mortality (OR 0.65 [95% CI 0.20-2.11]; p=0.476). Conclusion: Age and thoracic cancer diagnosis correlated with survival. Comparison of performance during the pandemic with national benchmarks can inform how regional services should be adapted in preparation for future healthcare crises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalThe Ulster medical journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Northern Ireland
  • Cancer Patients
  • Covid-19 Infection
  • Ukccmp
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms
  • Risk Factors
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Middle Aged
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Female
  • Male
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2


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