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The expert oncologist discussed the findings of the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium and how the results of the consortium should inform conversations with patients with cancer.
In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Petros Grivas, MD, PhD, board-certified oncologist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), director of the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine’s Genitourinary Cancers Program, and a UW professor of Oncology, spoke about advice for patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic based on results from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19).
Data from the consortium, presented at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Virtual Scientific Program, suggested that in patients with cancer and COVID-19, cancer that is progressing was independently associated with an increased risk of death.
Additionally, treatment with both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin was also strongly associated with an increased risk of death.
Importantly though, longer follow-up is needed to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on outcomes in patients with cancer, including whether or not specific cancer treatments should be continued.
I think it’s very important when we give advice to our dear patients to always put on the caution hat and make the point that this data is definitely informing, in my opinion, those discussions but are not, as I mentioned before, conclusive done deal results, because of the evolving nature of the consortium registry study. But I think the advice is, number one, have a discussion with your provider individually one by one and see how this data fit in. Specifically, in this specific patient scenario you have to think about the individual patient and the risk factors of those patients, especially in age, sex, as well as status of the cancer, type of the cancer, all of these are relevant factors to discuss with the provider.
But I think one of the take home points is that patients who need treatment for their cancer, in our experience in our cancer center and based on these data, these patients probably can go ahead and do… pursue the treatment they need in order to avoid delays in their cancer care. As the active peak, surge of the pandemic, gets more controlled, I think we’re seeing more and more patients with cancer coming in the cancer centers, which makes us a little bit worried about the volumes of patients and we always want to make sure we ensure timely and proper care. So, I think it’s important to have these discussions and institute cancer therapy early on, in a timely manner when needed.