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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316788


Background: Cancer patients are vulnerable populations for COVID-19 complications and mortality. We previously reported on the poor single-dose immunogenicity of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in cancer patients, particularly those with haematological malignancies. Methods: In this prospective, observational study relating to the safety and immunogenicity of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine, 201 vaccinated cancer patients (solid cancer n=125;haematological cancer n=76) and 54 healthy controls (mostly health-care workers “HCW”) were recruited between December 8th, 2020, and April 23rd, 2021. The previously reported interim results covered a period of 101 days since first patient recruitment, during which time 47 subjects received a second “boost” vaccination on day 21. Because of the change in UK Government policy, all others received a delayed vaccine boost at about 12 weeks after their first vaccination, and had their blood sampled 2 weeks’ later. Here, we describe immunogenicity data following the delayed boost in 31 HCWs, 72 solid cancer and 56 haematological cancer patients. Seroconversion, virus neutralisation, and T cell assays were as described previously, with an additional test for neutralisation of the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant-ofconcern (VOC). The primary endpoint of the study was the impact on seroconversion following delayed (>21days) vaccine boosting in solid and haematological cancer patients. The secondary endpoints were: safety following delayed vaccine boost;T cell responses;and neutralisation of SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan (“wild type” [WT]), B.1.1.7 (alpha), and B.1.617.2 (delta) variants.Findings: Delayed (>21days) boost vaccination of solid cancer patients and haematological cancer patients with the BNT162b2 vaccine was well tolerated, as the primary vaccination had been. There was no vaccine-associated death. Boosting significantly increased solid cancer patients’ seroconversion responses, that had been strikingly poor in response to a single dose: from 38% to 84%. Boosting also significantly improved vaccine immunogenicity for haematological cancer patients, but most (57%) still failed to seroconvert. Seroconversion correlated strongly with the capacity to neutralise SARSCoV- 2 cell entry, although neutralisation of the WT variant was typically greater than of the VOC. Neutralisation was significantly increased by boosting for HCWs but not for cancer patients. In comparison to seroconversion, boosting achieved higher rates of functional T cell responsiveness (de novo responses) but had little impact on the magnitude of T cell responses for those who had responded to first-dose vaccination. When patients were scored as showing both seroconversion and T cell responses, the unfavourable situation of haematological cancer patients was overt with only 36% (12/33) defined as being responders compared to 78% (25/32) of solid cancer patients and 88% (15/17) of HCWs. There was no significant difference in any aspect of immunogenicity for HCWs or solid cancer patients receiving the delayed boost versus the day 21 boost (this comparison could not be made for haematological cancer patients because too few received an early boost). Chemotherapy within 15 days either side of the boost exacerbated the likelihood of non-responsiveness to the vaccine.Interpretation: Boosting at either 3 weeks or longer (up to 12 weeks) post-primary vaccination shows high efficacy in terms of seroconversion of solid cancer patients and increases in their SARS-CoV-2 Spike-specific antibody titres. By contrast, delayed boosting left most haematological cancer patients without serological protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection. These data support the ongoing adjustment of health care measures to limit the evident vulnerability of such individuals to SARS-CoV- 2, and to limit their potential to transmit virus variants that might develop in the context of absent or partial immunoprotection. The absence of any clear improvements in immunogenicity of a delayed boost relative to boosting on day 21 emphasizes the importan e of early boosting for cancer patients, and potentially of doing so repeatedly, particularly given how well the vaccine was tolerated. Chemotherapy, if possible should be withheld 15 days before and 15 days after the vaccination date.Trial Registration: The trial is registered with the NHS Health Research Authority (HRA) and Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) (REC ID: 20/HRA/2031).Funding: KCL, CRUK, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Wellcome Trust, Rosetrees Trust, Francis Crick Institute.Declaration of Interest: None to declare. Ethical Approval: The trial was approved by the institutional review boards of the participating institutions (IRAS ID: 282337 REC ID: 20/HRA/2031).

Lancet Oncol ; 22(6): 765-778, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531901


BACKGROUND: The efficacy and safety profiles of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with cancer is unknown. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine in patients with cancer. METHODS: For this prospective observational study, we recruited patients with cancer and healthy controls (mostly health-care workers) from three London hospitals between Dec 8, 2020, and Feb 18, 2021. Participants who were vaccinated between Dec 8 and Dec 29, 2020, received two 30 µg doses of BNT162b2 administered intramuscularly 21 days apart; patients vaccinated after this date received only one 30 µg dose with a planned follow-up boost at 12 weeks. Blood samples were taken before vaccination and at 3 weeks and 5 weeks after the first vaccination. Where possible, serial nasopharyngeal real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) swab tests were done every 10 days or in cases of symptomatic COVID-19. The coprimary endpoints were seroconversion to SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein in patients with cancer following the first vaccination with the BNT162b2 vaccine and the effect of vaccine boosting after 21 days on seroconversion. All participants with available data were included in the safety and immunogenicity analyses. Ongoing follow-up is underway for further blood sampling after the delayed (12-week) vaccine boost. This study is registered with the NHS Health Research Authority and Health and Care Research Wales (REC ID 20/HRA/2031). FINDINGS: 151 patients with cancer (95 patients with solid cancer and 56 patients with haematological cancer) and 54 healthy controls were enrolled. For this interim data analysis of the safety and immunogenicity of vaccinated patients with cancer, samples and data obtained up to March 19, 2021, were analysed. After exclusion of 17 patients who had been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (detected by either antibody seroconversion or a positive rRT-PCR COVID-19 swab test) from the immunogenicity analysis, the proportion of positive anti-S IgG titres at approximately 21 days following a single vaccine inoculum across the three cohorts were 32 (94%; 95% CI 81-98) of 34 healthy controls; 21 (38%; 26-51) of 56 patients with solid cancer, and eight (18%; 10-32) of 44 patients with haematological cancer. 16 healthy controls, 25 patients with solid cancer, and six patients with haematological cancer received a second dose on day 21. Of the patients with available blood samples 2 weeks following a 21-day vaccine boost, and excluding 17 participants with evidence of previous natural SARS-CoV-2 exposure, 18 (95%; 95% CI 75-99) of 19 patients with solid cancer, 12 (100%; 76-100) of 12 healthy controls, and three (60%; 23-88) of five patients with haematological cancers were seropositive, compared with ten (30%; 17-47) of 33, 18 (86%; 65-95) of 21, and four (11%; 4-25) of 36, respectively, who did not receive a boost. The vaccine was well tolerated; no toxicities were reported in 75 (54%) of 140 patients with cancer following the first dose of BNT162b2, and in 22 (71%) of 31 patients with cancer following the second dose. Similarly, no toxicities were reported in 15 (38%) of 40 healthy controls after the first dose and in five (31%) of 16 after the second dose. Injection-site pain within 7 days following the first dose was the most commonly reported local reaction (23 [35%] of 65 patients with cancer; 12 [48%] of 25 healthy controls). No vaccine-related deaths were reported. INTERPRETATION: In patients with cancer, one dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine yields poor efficacy. Immunogenicity increased significantly in patients with solid cancer within 2 weeks of a vaccine boost at day 21 after the first dose. These data support prioritisation of patients with cancer for an early (day 21) second dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine. FUNDING: King's College London, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust, Rosetrees Trust, and Francis Crick Institute.

COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/immunology , Neoplasms/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Female , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , London/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/blood , Neoplasms/complications , Neoplasms/virology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales