Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of COVID-19-Infected Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Hua Zhang*, Han Han, Tianhui He, Kristen E. Labbe, Adrian V. Hernandez, Haiquan Chen, Vamsidhar Velcheti, Justin Stebbing, Kwok Kin Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies have indicated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with cancer have a high fatality rate. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of studies that reported fatalities in COVID-19 patients with cancer. A comprehensive meta-analysis that assessed the overall case fatality rate and associated risk factors was performed. Using individual patient data, univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) for each variable with outcomes. Results: We included 15 studies with 3019 patients, of which 1628 were men; 41.0% were from the United Kingdom and Europe, followed by the United States and Canada (35.7%), and Asia (China, 23.3%). The overall case fatality rate of COVID-19 patients with cancer measured 22.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 17.3% to 28.0%). Univariate analysis revealed age (OR = 3.57, 95% CI = 1.80 to 7.06), male sex (OR = 2.10, 95% CI = 1.07 to 4.13), and comorbidity (OR = 2.00, 95% CI = 1.04 to 3.85) were associated with increased risk of severe events (defined as the individuals being admitted to the intensive care unit, or requiring invasive ventilation, or death). In multivariable analysis, only age greater than 65 years (OR = 3.16, 95% CI = 1.45 to 6.88) and being male (OR = 2.29, 95% CI = 1.07 to 4.87) were associated with increased risk of severe events. Conclusions: Our analysis demonstrated that COVID-19 patients with cancer have a higher fatality rate compared with that of COVID-19 patients without cancer. Age and sex appear to be risk factors associated with a poorer prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Asia/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Canada/epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Europe/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2/physiology
  • Survival Rate
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology
  • United States/epidemiology


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