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Ther Adv Urol ; 13: 17562872211054302, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488375


BACKGROUND: Considering the growing genitourinary (GU) cancer population undergoing systemic treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we planned a clinical audit in 24 Italian institutions treating GU malignancies. OBJECTIVE: The primary objective was investigating the clinical impact of COVID-19 in GU cancer patients undergoing ICI-based therapy during the first outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 contagion in Italy. DESIGN SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: The included centers were 24 Oncology Departments. Two online forms were completed by the responsible Oncology Consultants, respectively, for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) patients receiving at least one administration of ICIs between 31 January 2020 and 30 June 2020. RESULTS AND LIMITATION: In total, 287 mRCC patients and 130 mUC patients were included. The COVID-19 incidence was, respectively, 3.5%, with mortality 1%, in mRCC patients and 7.7%, with mortality 3.1%, in mUC patients. In both groups, 40% of patients developing COVID-19 permanently discontinued anticancer treatment. The pre-test SARS-CoV-2 probability in the subgroup of patients who underwent nasal/pharyngeal swab ranged from 14% in mRCC to 26% in mUC. The main limitation of the work was its nature of audit: data were not recorded at the single-patient level. CONCLUSION: GU cancer patients undergoing active treatment with ICIs have meaningful risk factors for developing severe events from COVID-19 and permanent discontinuation of therapy after the infection. Treatment delays due to organizational issues during the pandemic were unlikely to affect the treatment outcome in this population.

Front Public Health ; 8: 602988, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1004712


Background: The COVID-19 outbreak rapidly became a public health emergency affecting particularly the frail category as cancer patients. This led oncologists to radical changes in patient management, facing the unprecedent issue whether treatments in oncology could be postponed without compromising their efficacy. Purpose: To discuss legal implications in oncology practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Perspective: Treatment delay is not always feasible in oncology where the timing often plays a key role and may impact significantly in prognosis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the oncologists were found between the anvil and the hammer, on the one hand the need to treat cancer patients aiming to improve clinical benefits, and on the other hand the goal to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection avoiding or delaying immunosuppressive treatments and hospital exposure. Therefore, two rising scenarios with possible implications in both criminal and civil law are emerging. Firstly, oncologists may be "accused" of having delayed or omitted the diagnosis and/or treatments with consequent worsening of patients' outcome. Secondly, oncologists can be blamed for having exposed patients to hospital environment considered at risk for COVID-19 transmission. Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical decision making should be well-balanced through a careful examination between clinical performance status, age, comorbidities, aim of the treatment, and the potential risk of COVID-19 infection in order to avoid the risk of suboptimal cancer care with potential legal repercussion. Moreover, all cases should be discussed in the oncology team or in the tumor board in order to share the best strategy to adopt case by case.

COVID-19/economics , Liability, Legal/economics , Malpractice/economics , Neoplasms/economics , Neoplasms/therapy , Oncologists/economics , Pandemics/economics , Adult , Female , Guilt , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Oncologists/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2
Cancers (Basel) ; 12(8)2020 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-721488


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) shows a wide spectrum of clinical presentations, severity, and fatality rates. The reason older patients and males show increased risk of severe disease and death remains uncertain. Sex hormones, such as estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, might be implicated in the age-dependent and sex-specific severity of COVID-19. High testosterone levels could upregulate transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2), facilitating the entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into host cells via angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Data from patients with prostate cancer treated with androgen-deprivation therapy seem to confirm this hypothesis. Clinical studies on TMPRSS2 inhibitors, such as camostat, nafamostat, and bromhexine, are ongoing. Antiandrogens, such as bicalutamide and enzalutamide, are also under investigation. Conversely, other studies suggest that the immune modulating properties of androgens could protect from the unfavorable cytokine storm, and that low testosterone levels might be associated with a worse prognosis in patients with COVID-19. Some evidence also supports the notion that estrogens and progesterone might exert a protective effect on females, through direct antiviral activity or immune-mediated mechanisms, thus explaining the higher COVID-19 severity in post-menopausal women. In this perspective, we discuss the available evidence on sex hormones and hormone therapy in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, and we highlight the possible implications for cancer patients, who can receive hormonal therapies during their treatment plans.