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In Vivo ; 35(1): 635-639, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1011856


BACKGROUND/AIM: The perspective validation of a selective approach in patients undergoing breast cancer surgery was performed in order to assess whether patients as well as Health Care Workers (HCWs) were exposed to any undue risk of COVD-19 infection. PATIENTS AND METHODS: From March 9th to June 9th 2020, 207 patients were phone-triaged by a dedicated Breast Care Nurse; a patient-tailored program was adopted with the aim of avoiding hospitalization of SARS-CoV-2 symptomatic patients, with a careful prioritization of surgical procedures according to specific disease features. RESULTS: Two hundred and three out of 207 patients underwent operation; seven patients were temporarily excluded because they tested positive at phone triage (n=3), or in-hospital triage (n=3); another asymptomatic patient with negative NP swab tested IgM Ab-positive so that surgery was re-scheduled two weeks later. Four patients had no surgery; one of them was reconsidered for neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) after testing positive at phone triage; three patients were excluded because they were already hospitalized for COVID-19. Overall, mean in-hospital stay was 2.2 days (±SD, 0.7) and, after hospital discharge, no patient required readmission. CONCLUSION: This preventive program avoided any COVID-19 infection among patients and HCWs, so that an elective breast cancer surgical procedure can be safely and timely pursued without affecting the oncologic outcome.

Breast Neoplasms/surgery , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Mastectomy/methods , Preventive Health Services/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adult , Breast Neoplasms/therapy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data , Medical Oncology/methods , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Triage/methods
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.

Eur J Clin Invest ; 50(9): e13315, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-597270


BACKGROUND: During COVID-19 outbreak, oncological care has been reorganized. Patients with cancer have been reported to experience a more severe COVID-19 syndrome; moreover, there are concerns of a potential interference between immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between 6 and 16 May 2020, a 22-item survey was sent to Italian physicians involved in administering ICIs. It aimed at exploring the perception about SARS-CoV-2-related risks in cancer patients receiving ICIs, and the attitudes towards their management. RESULTS: The 104 respondents had a median age of 35.5 years, 58.7% were females and 71.2% worked in Northern Italy. 47.1% of respondents argued a synergism between ICIs and SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis leading to worse outcomes, but 97.1% would not deny an ICI only for the risk of infection. During COVID-19 outbreak, to reduce hospital visits, 55.8% and 30.8% opted for the highest labelled dose of each ICI and/or, among different ICIs for the same indication, for the one with the longer interval between cycles, respectively. 53.8% of respondents suggested testing for SARS-CoV-2 every cancer patient candidate to ICIs. 71.2% declared to manage patients with onset of dyspnoea and cough as infected by SARS-CoV-2 until otherwise proven; however, 96.2% did not reduce the use of steroids to manage immune-related toxicities. The administration of ICIs in specific situations for different cancer types has not been drastically conditioned. CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the uncertainties around the perception of a potential interference between ICIs and COVID-19, supporting the need of focused studies on this topic.

Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Immunologic Factors/administration & dosage , Neoplasms/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Immunocompromised Host , Italy , Male , Medical Oncology/methods , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/immunology , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Risk Assessment , Surveys and Questionnaires