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Journal of Thoracic Oncology ; 16(3):S285-S286, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1159457


Introduction: The first patient with COVID-19 in Portugal was diagnosed on March 2. There was a lack of knowledge concerning the risks of COVID-19 infection in lung cancer patients, prognostic factors, the influence of cancer treatments and cure criteria. Treatments and consultations were readjusted in order to maintain the ones that increase patients’ survival, while reducing the risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection. International and national “guidelines” were followed, but each hospital had its own strategies to reduce COVID-19 risk. Purpose: The Portuguese Lung Cancer Study Group launched a survey in order to study the early impact of COVID-19 in lung cancer patients, changes in treatments and the way of implementation of COVID-free circuits. Methods: A survey was sent to lung cancer doctors of all the Portuguese hospitals. Results: At the data cut-off, information from twenty one hospitals was collected, corresponding to about 66% (n=3.446) of each year new diagnoses of lung cancer in Portugal. In March and April there was a reduction in newly lung cancer diagnosed patients while comparing with 2019: in March, 86% had a reduction;in April, 90% of the hospitals reported a reduction and it was greater than 40% in eight hospitals (38%). About 62% of the doctors considered less referral from primary care as a cause, and 33% delayed biopsies or other imaging exams. The most difficult exams to obtain were CT guided biopsies and EBUS for 48%. The majority of the hospitals (57%) were also referral for COVID-19 patients’ treatment. In 48% of the lung cancer treating departments’ there were doctors reallocated to COVID-19 treatment areas. In 48% the assistance teams were divided into teams that weren’t previously working together. The majority of doctors (90%) reported having individual protection equipment available. Hospitals performed teleconsultation (100%), and, in seven hospitals (33%), more than half of the consultations were done using communication technology. All the hospitals were able to perform SARS-CoV-2 testing. It was done before every cycle of chemotherapy in 90% of the hospitals. In the majority (67%) it was only performed before day D1, in D1 and D8 chemotherapy protocols. About 19% reported changes in prescription of adjuvant chemotherapy and in maintenance chemotherapy, 33% increased the prescription of oral chemotherapy, 33% changed the periodicity, 29% reported reduction in inclusion in clinical trials. In 33% there was an earlier end of chemotherapy in ECOG2 and vulnerable patients. In 38% the prescription of G-CSF (Granulocity-colony stimulating factor) increased, being used for prophylaxis if the risk of febrile neutropenia was more than 10-15%. The periodicity of consultations was changed for patients under TKI treatment in 86%, and 67% hospitals reported changes in immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment schedule. In 29% oral drugs could be delivered at patients’ home. All the patients admitted for surgery were tested for SARS-CoV-2, and 86% performed SARS-COV-2 testing before radiotherapy. Conclusion: Portuguese hospitals responded to the sudden need of creation of COVID-free circuits, change protocols and even teleconsultation. With a larger follow up we will study the late consequences of COVID-19 pandemic in lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. Keywords: COVID-19, survey, Portuguese Lung Cancer Study Group