according to , MD, PhD, a thoracic medical oncologist at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona.
At the annual World Conference on Lung Cancer, she reported on her institution’s experience during the first year of the pandemic before widespread vaccine rollouts.
Among 38 malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients, seven (18%) patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 and of these, three patients were asymptomatic, four (57%) died of complications including bilateral pneumonia within a median of less than half a month after diagnosis, and a fifth patient died from MPM progression.
The findings confirm the particular risk of COVID in MPM. According to researchers, mesothelioma was the only cancer linked to significantly worse outcomes. Other risks included tuberculosis, drug use, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, cardiomyopathy, and diabetes.
However, the Barcelona report only has seven patients, and it’s one of only a few to address the specifics of COVID in MPM.
“There really is a need for more inclusion of MPM patients in international [COVID] registries” to better characterize the course of infection and improve outcomes, said study discussant, MD, PhD, a mesothelioma expert at the Cancer Center Leon Berard in Lyon, France.
Among the seven positive cases in Barcelona, almost all had comorbidities, with the most common being cardiovascular disease in four patients (57%). Only two patients (29%) were on oncologic treatment at the time they were diagnosed, and the median age at diagnosis was 62 years. Four cases were in men, three in women. MPM stage was not reported.
WCLC 2021 was organized by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.
No funding source was reported. Dr. Cedres is an adviser and/or reported travel expenses from a number of companies, including Merck, Pfizer, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Galateau-Salle had no disclosures.