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1.
J Cancer Policy ; 33: 100340, 2022 Jun 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1945494

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Early reports suggested that COVID-19 patients with cancer were at higher risk of COVID-19-related death. We conducted a systematic review with risk of bias assessment and synthesis of the early evidence on the risk of COVID-19-related death for COVID-19 patients with and without cancer. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We searched Medline/Embase/BioRxiv/MedRxiv/SSRN databases to 1 July 2020. We included cohort or case-control studies published in English that reported on the risk of dying after developing COVID-19 for people with a pre-existing diagnosis of any cancer, lung cancer, or haematological cancers. We assessed risk of bias using tools adapted from the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. We used the generic inverse-variance random-effects method for meta-analysis. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated separately. Of 96 included studies, 54 had sufficient non-overlapping data to be included in meta-analyses (>500,000 people with COVID-19, >8000 with cancer; 52 studies of any cancer, three of lung and six of haematological cancers). All studies had high risk of bias. Accounting for at least age consistently led to lower estimated ORs and HRs for COVID-19-related death in cancer patients (e.g. any cancer versus no cancer; six studies, unadjusted OR=3.30,95%CI:2.59-4.20, adjusted OR=1.37,95%CI:1.16-1.61). Adjusted effect estimates were not reported for people with lung or haematological cancers. Of 18 studies that adjusted for at least age, 17 reported positive associations between pre-existing cancer diagnosis and COVID-19-related death (e.g. any cancer versus no cancer; nine studies, adjusted OR=1.66,95%CI:1.33-2.08; five studies, adjusted HR=1.19,95%CI:1.02-1.38). CONCLUSIONS: The initial evidence (published to 1 July 2020) on COVID-19-related death in people with cancer is characterised by multiple sources of bias and substantial overlap between data included in different studies. Pooled analyses of non-overlapping early data with adjustment for at least age indicated a significantly increased risk of COVID-19-related death for those with a pre-existing cancer diagnosis.

2.
Lancet Oncol ; 23(7): 845-847, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1907914
3.
J Cancer Policy ; 33: 100338, 2022 Jun 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1878231

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The early COVID-19 literature suggested that people with cancer may be more likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 or develop COVID-19 than people without cancer, due to increased health services contact and/or immunocompromise. While some studies were criticised due to small patient numbers and methodological limitations, they created or reinforced concerns of clinicians and people with cancer. These risks are also important in COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation decisions. We performed a systematic review to critically assess and summarise the early literature. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a systematic search of Medline/Embase/BioRxiv/MedRxiv/SSRN databases including peer-reviewed journal articles, letters/commentaries, and non-peer-reviewed pre-print articles for 1 January-1 July 2020. The primary endpoints were diagnosis of COVID-19 and positive SARS-CoV-2 test. We assessed risk of bias using a tool adapted from the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Twelve studies were included in the quantitative synthesis. All four studies of COVID-19 incidence (including 24,181,727 individuals, 125,649 with pre-existing cancer) reported that people with cancer had higher COVID-19 incidence rates. Eight studies reported SARS-CoV-2 test positivity for > 472,000 individuals, 48,370 with pre-existing cancer. Seven of these studies comparing people with any and without cancer, were pooled using random effects [pooled odds ratio 0.91, 95 %CI: 0.57-1.47; unadjusted for age, sex, or comorbidities]. Two studies suggested people with active or haematological cancer had lower risk of a positive test. All 12 studies had high risk of bias; none included universal or random COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 testing. CONCLUSIONS: The early literature on susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 for people with cancer is characterised by pervasive biases and limited data. To provide high-quality evidence to inform decision-making, studies of risk of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 for people with cancer should control for other potential modifiers of infection risk, including age, sex, comorbidities, exposure to the virus, protective measures taken, and vaccination, in addition to stratifying analyses by cancer type, stage at diagnosis, and treatment received.

4.
5.
BMJ Open ; 12(3): e059374, 2022 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765128

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: We explore the routes to cancer diagnosis to further undertanding of the inequality in the reduction in detection of new cancers since the start of the pandemic. We use different data sets to assess stages in the cancer pathway: primary care data for primary care consultations, routine and urgent referrals and published analysis of cancer registry data for appointments and first treatments. SETTING: Primary and cancer care. PARTICIPANTS: In this study we combine multiple data sets to perform a population-based cohort study on different areas of the cancer pathway. For primary care analysis, we use a random sample of 5 00 000 patients from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Postreferral we perform a secondary data analysis on the Cancer Wait Times data and the National Cancer Registry Analysis Service COVID-19 data equity pack. OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary care: consultation, urgent cancer referral and routine referral rates, then appointments following an urgent cancer referral, and first treatments for new cancer, for all and by quintile of patient's local area index of multiple deprivation. RESULTS: Primary care contacts and urgent cancer referrals in England fell by 11.6% (95% CI 11.4% to 11.7%) and 20.2% (95% CI 18.1% to 22.3%) respectively between the start of the first non-pharmaceutical intervention in March 2020 and the end of January 2021, while routine referrals had not recovered to prepandemic levels. Reductions in first treatments for newly diagnosed cancers are down 16.3% (95% CI 15.9% to 16.6%). The reduction in the number of 2-week wait referrals and first treatments for all cancer has been largest for those living in poorer areas, despite having a smaller reduction in primary care contact. CONCLUSIONS: Our results further evidence the strain on primary care and the presence of the inverse care law, and the dire need to address the inequalities so sharply brought into focus by the pandemic. We need to address the disconnect between the importance we place on the role of primary care and the resources we devote to it.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , Waiting Lists
6.
Lancet Oncol ; 23(4): 531-539, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764043

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Similarly to several other upper-middle-income countries, there is a major shortfall in radiotherapy services for the treatment of cancer in Brazil. In this study, we developed the linear accelerator (LINAC) shortage index to assess the LINAC shortage and support the prioritisation of new LINAC distribution in Brazil. METHODS: This cross-sectional, population-based study used data from the National Cancer Institute 2020 Cancer estimates, the Ministry of Health 2019 radiotherapy census, the Minister of Health radiotherapy expansion programme progress reports, and the Fundação Oncocentro de São Paulo public database of the Cancer Hospital Registry of the State of São Paulo to calculate the LINAC shortage index. Data collected were number of new cancer cases in Brazil, number of LINACs per region and state, number of cancer cases treated with radiotherapy, patient state of residence, and radiotherapy treatment centre and location. National, regional, and state-level data were collected for analysis. LINAC numbers, cancer incidence, geographical distribution, and radiotherapy needs were estimated. A LINAC shortage index was calculated as a relative measure of LINAC demand compared with supply based on number of new cancer cases, number of patients requiring radiotherapy, and the number of LINCAS in the region or state. We then built a prioritisation framework using the LINAC shortage index, cancer incidence, and geographical factors. Finally, using patient-level public cancer registry data from the Fundação Oncocentro de São Paulo and Google maps, we estimated the geospatial distance travelled by patients with cancer from their state of residence to radiotherapy treatment in São Paulo from 2005-14. Non-parametric statistics were used for analysis. FINDINGS: Data were collected between Feb 2 and Dec 31, 2021. In 2020, there were 625 370 new cancer cases in Brazil and 252 LINAC machines. The number of LINACs was inadequate in all Brazilian regions, with a national LINAC shortage index of 221 (ie, 121% less than the required radiotherapy capacity). The LINAC shortage index was higher in the midwest (326), north (313), and northeast (237) regions, than the southeast (210) and south (192) regions. Four states (Tocantins, Acre, Amapá, and Roraima) in the north region were ranked first on the prioritisation rank due to no availability of LINACs. There was an association between LINAC shortage index and the number of patients who travelled to receive radiotherapy (p<0·0001). Patients living in the midwest (793 km), north (2835 km), and northeast (2415 km) regions travelled significantly longer average distances to receive radiotherapy treatment in São Paulo than patients living in the southeast or south regions (p=0·032). The reduced number of LINACs in these regions was associated with longer distance travelled (p=0·032). INTERPRETATION: There is substantial discordance between distribution of cancer cases and LINAC availability in Brazil. We developed a tool using the LINACs shortage index to help prioritise the development of radiotherapy infrastructure across Brazil; this approach might also be useful in other health systems. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
Radiation Oncology , Brazil/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Particle Accelerators , Research
9.
Ecancermedicalscience ; 16: 1355, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1725367

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine development and administration have become global priorities since the beginning of the pandemic, particularly for special populations at higher risk of complications and mortality, such as patients with haematologic and solid organ malignancies. This review aims to summarise the current data for COVID-19 vaccine efficacy in patients with cancer, suggest priority areas for future research and look at potential disparities at a global level. Although patients diagnosed with or receiving therapy for cancer were excluded from the initial vaccine trials, emerging evidence now supports vaccine safety with potentially diminished immune response in this group. Several studies that evaluated antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination found that patients with solid malignancies had lower serologic response rates compared to healthy controls, but better than patients with haematologic malignancies, who had the lowest seroconversion rates and antibody titres. As anticipated, poor serologic responses have been particularly observed among patients receiving B-cell depleting therapies. The data on cellular response are scarce and conflicting since not all studies have showed a difference between patients with malignancies and healthy subjects. Several questions concerning vaccination remain unanswered and require further exploration, such as response duration, need for response monitoring and rates of breakthrough infections.

11.
Ecancermedicalscience ; 15: 1264, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666970

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Patients with cancer across the world have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased risk of infection and disruption to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Widening of healthcare disparities is expected as the gap between health systems with and without adequate resources to mitigate the pandemic become more apparent. We undertook a bibliometric analysis of research related to cancer and COVID-19 to understand (1) the type of research that has been conducted (e.g. patients, services and systems) and (2) whether the pandemic has impacted the state of global cancer research as measured by research outputs to date. METHODS: An existing filter for cancer research consisting of title words and the names of specialist cancer journals was used to identify cancer and COVID-19 related articles and reviews in the Web of Science (©Clarivate Analytics) between January 2019 and February 2021. RESULTS: One thousand five hundred and forty-five publications were identified. The majority (57%) were reviews, opinion pieces or concerned with modelling impact of delays to diagnosis and treatment. The main research domains focused on managing or estimating COVID-19 risk to cancer patients accounting for 384 papers (25%). High Income countries contributed the largest volume (n = 1,115; 72%), compared to Upper Middle (n = 302; 20%), Lower Middle (n = 122; 8%) and Low Income countries (n = 2.4; 0.2%). No evidence of a reduction in global cancer research output was observed in 2020. CONCLUSIONS: We observed a shift in research focus rather than a decline in absolute output. However, there is variation based on national income and collaborations are minimal. There has been a focus on pan-cancer studies rather than cancer site-specific studies. Strengthening global multidisciplinary research partnerships with teams from diverse backgrounds with regard to gender, clinical expertise and resource setting is essential to prevent the widening of cancer inequalities.

12.
Ecancermedicalscience ; 16: 1339, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1637938

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many countries appear to be ill-prepared in their emergency responses towards the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly in managing chronic diseases such as cancer. We aimed to gain insight on the preparedness of health systems within low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in maintaining delivery of cancer care amid the pandemic. METHODS: We performed a rapid review of publications focusing on emergency contingency plans for cancer care during the pandemic in LMICs. An online desk research was conducted to identify relevant policy documents, guidelines or scientific publications. RESULTS: Very few LMICs had readily accessible documents to ensure continuity in delivery of cancer care during the pandemic. A majority of publications were focused on delivery of cancer treatment whereas early detection, diagnosis and delivery of supportive and survivorship care received very little attention. Far fewer of the published guidelines appear to have been formulated at the national level by governmental agencies. A vast majority of publications constituted consensus guidelines from professional societies, followed by sharing of best practices from local institutions. Overall, three main strategies have been recommended to maintain delivery of cancer care amid the pandemic in LMICs: 1) Modification of cancer treatment regimens, 2) Changes in methods of administration of curative and supportive cancer care and 3) Implementation of generic measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in healthcare settings. CONCLUSION: All LMICs should consider collating best practices from the current pandemic and translating them into an explicit cancer preparedness plan, which can be escalated during future disasters.

14.
Front Public Health ; 9: 741223, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593365

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on global health systems and economies. With ongoing and future challenges posed to the field due to the pandemic, re-examining research priorities has emerged as a concern. As part of a wider project aiming to examine research priorities, here we aimed to qualitatively examine the documented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer researchers. Materials and Methods: We conducted a literature review with the aim of identifying non-peer-reviewed journalistic sources and institutional blog posts which qualitatively documented the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer researchers. We searched on 12th January 2021 using the LexisNexis database and Google, using terms and filters to identify English-language media reports and blogs, containing references to both COVID-19 and cancer research. The targeted search returned 751 results, of which 215 articles met the inclusion criteria. These 215 articles were subjected to a conventional qualitative content analysis, to document the impacts of the pandemic on the field of cancer research. Results: Our analysis yielded a high plurality of qualitatively documented impacts, from which seven categories of direct impacts emerged: (1) COVID measures halting cancer research activity entirely; (2) COVID measures limiting cancer research activity; (3) forced adaptation of research protocols; (4) impacts on cancer diagnosis, cases, and services; (5) availability of resources for cancer research; (6) disruption to the private sector; and (7) disruption to supply chains. Three categories of consequences from these impacts also emerged: (1) potential changes to future research practice; (2) delays to the progression of the field; and (3) potential new areas of research interest. Discussion: The COVID-19 pandemic had extensive practical and economic effects on the field of cancer research in 2020 that were highly plural in nature. Appraisal of cancer research strategies in a post-COVID world should acknowledge the potential for substantial limitations (such as on financial resources, limited access to patients for research, decreased patient access to cancer care, staffing issues, administrative delays, or supply chain issues), exacerbated cancer disparities, advances in digital health, and new areas of research related to the intersection of cancer and COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2
15.
J Cancer Policy ; 31: 100316, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561543

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has been highly disruptive for cancer care. Here, we examined the effect COVID-19 had on performance of the 62-day Cancer Waiting Time (CWT) target set by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. METHODS: Data were retrospectively obtained on COVID-19 hospitalisations and CWT for NHS hospitals in England (n = 121). We produced a 'COVID-19 burden' to describe the proportion of each provider's beds occupied with COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 burden was examined against CWT performance for 1st April - 30th May 2020 (Wave 1), and 1st October - 30th November 2020 (Wave 2). Two-tailed Spearman correlations were used to identify relationships between COVID-19 burden and CWT performance amongst different referral (i.e., 2-week-wait (2 W W) and internal specialist) and tumour types. Significantly correlated variables were further examined using linear regression models. RESULTS: COVID-19 burden was negatively associated with the percentage of 2 W W pathway referrals that met the CWT target in Wave 1 (r= -0.30, p = 0.001) and Wave 2 (r= -0.21, p = 0.02). These associations were supported by the results from our linear regression models (B for wave 1: -0.71; 95 %CI: -1.03 to -0.40; B for wave 2: -0.38; 95 %CI: -0.68 to -0.07). No associations were found between COVID-19 burden and internal specialist referrals or tumour type. CONCLUSION: Increased COVID-19 burden was associated with lower compliance with CWT targets amongst urgent referrals from primary care in England. This will likely be an ongoing issue due to the backlog of patients awaiting investigations and treatment. POLICY SUMMARY: As the number of cancer referrals improve, we highlight the need for changes to primary and secondary care to manage the backlog within cancer diagnostic services to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , COVID-19/diagnosis , England/epidemiology , Humans , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine
16.
Health Secur ; 19(6): 625-632, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555191

ABSTRACT

The health sector is an underutilized source of actionable health intelligence for responding to threats across the "cyber-bionexus," defined as the convergence of threats from the biological and cybersecurity domains to produce harms with widespread societal consequences. The escalation of concerns about such threats-related to misinformation and disinformation; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events; cyberattacks; natural disease outbreaks; and disasters of various kinds-places health system concerns squarely at the forefront of national critical systems and broader security imperatives. Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the dearth of systems available for generating real-time intelligence in relation to critical functions of health sector operations amidst an unfolding crisis. Drawing on principles from the field of cyberthreat intelligence, and building on existing scholarship in health security intelligence, we propose a model for applying health system indicators of compromise for cyberbio events. We further discuss the relevance of this approach within the broader landscape of the cyber-bionexus to signal new pathways for research, practice, and policy engagement.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Intelligence , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Br J Cancer ; 125(7): 939-947, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360191

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Using an updated dataset with more patients and extended follow-up, we further established cancer patient characteristics associated with COVID-19 death. METHODS: Data on all cancer patients with a positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction swab for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) at Guy's Cancer Centre and King's College Hospital between 29 February and 31 July 2020 was used. Cox proportional hazards regression was performed to identify which factors were associated with COVID-19 mortality. RESULTS: Three hundred and six SARS-CoV-2-positive cancer patients were included. Seventy-one had mild/moderate and 29% had severe COVID-19. Seventy-two patients died of COVID-19 (24%), of whom 35 died <7 days. Male sex [hazard ratio (HR): 1.97 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15-3.38)], Asian ethnicity [3.42 (1. 59-7.35)], haematological cancer [2.03 (1.16-3.56)] and a cancer diagnosis for >2-5 years [2.81 (1.41-5.59)] or ≥5 years were associated with an increased mortality. Age >60 years and raised C-reactive protein (CRP) were also associated with COVID-19 death. Haematological cancer, a longer-established cancer diagnosis, dyspnoea at diagnosis and raised CRP were indicative of early COVID-19-related death in cancer patients (<7 days from diagnosis). CONCLUSIONS: Findings further substantiate evidence for increased risk of COVID-19 mortality for male and Asian cancer patients, and those with haematological malignancies or a cancer diagnosis >2 years. These factors should be accounted for when making clinical decisions for cancer patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Hematologic Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Hematologic Neoplasms/complications , Hematologic Neoplasms/pathology , Hematologic Neoplasms/virology , Hospitals , Humans , London/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/complications , Neoplasms/pathology , Neoplasms/virology , Risk Factors
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