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COVID-19 Diagnosis and Risk of Death Among Adults With Cancer in Indiana: Retrospective Cohort Study.

Valvi N, Patel H, Bakoyannis G, Haggstrom DA, Mohanty S, Dixon BE. COVID-19 Diagnosis and Risk of Death Among Adults With Cancer in Indiana: Retrospective Cohort Study. JMIR cancer. 2022 Oct 6; 8(4):e35310.

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BACKGROUND: Prior studies, generally conducted at single centers with small sample sizes, found that individuals with cancer experience more severe outcomes due to COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although early examinations revealed greater risk of severe outcomes for patients with cancer, the magnitude of the increased risk remains unclear. Furthermore, prior studies were not typically performed using population-level data, especially those in the United States. Given robust prevention measures (eg, vaccines) are available for populations, examining the increased risk of patients with cancer due to SARS-CoV-2 infection using robust population-level analyses of electronic medical records is warranted. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to evaluate the association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and all-cause mortality among recently diagnosed adults with cancer. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of newly diagnosed adults with cancer between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2020, using electronic health records linked to a statewide SARS-CoV-2 testing database. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. We used the Kaplan-Meier estimator to estimate survival during the COVID-19 period (January 15, 2020, to December 31, 2020). We further modeled SARS-CoV-2 infection as a time-dependent exposure (immortal time bias) in a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for clinical and demographic variables to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) among newly diagnosed adults with cancer. Sensitivity analyses were conducted using the above methods among individuals with cancer-staging information. RESULTS: During the study period, 41,924 adults were identified with newly diagnosed cancer, of which 2894 (6.9%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The population consisted of White (n = 32,867, 78.4%), Black (n = 2671, 6.4%), Hispanic (n = 832, 2.0%), and other (n = 5554, 13.2%) racial backgrounds, with both male (n = 21,354, 50.9%) and female (n = 20,570, 49.1%) individuals. In the COVID-19 period analysis, after adjusting for age, sex, race or ethnicity, comorbidities, cancer type, and region, the risk of death increased by 91% (adjusted HR 1.91; 95% CI 1.76-2.09) compared to the pre-COVID-19 period (January 1, 2019, to January 14, 2020) after adjusting for other covariates. In the adjusted time-dependent analysis, SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with an increase in all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 6.91; 95% CI 6.06-7.89). Mortality increased 2.5 times among adults aged 65 years and older (adjusted HR 2.74; 95% CI 2.26-3.31) compared to adults 18-44 years old, among male (adjusted HR 1.23; 95% CI 1.14-1.32) compared to female individuals, and those with = 2 chronic conditions (adjusted HR 2.12; 95% CI 1.94-2.31) compared to those with no comorbidities. Risk of mortality was 9% higher in the rural population (adjusted HR 1.09; 95% CI 1.01-1.18) compared to adult urban residents. CONCLUSIONS: The findings highlight increased risk of death is associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among patients with a recent diagnosis of cancer. Elevated risk underscores the importance of adhering to social distancing, mask adherence, vaccination, and regular testing among the adult cancer population.

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