Bakouny Z, Grover P, Labaki C, Awosika J, Gulati S, Hsu CY, Bilen MA, Eton O, Fecher L, Hwang C, Khan H, McKay RR, Ruiz E, Weissmann L, Thompson MA, Shah D, Warner J, Shyr Y, Choueiri TK, and Wise-Draper T. Association of immunotherapy and immunosuppression with severe COVID-19 disease in patients with cancer. Ann Oncol 2022; 33:S772-S773.
Background: Cytokine storm due to COVID-19 can cause high morbidity and mortality. Patients with cancer treated with immunotherapy (IO) and those with immunosuppression may have higher rates of cytokine storm due to immune dysregulation. We sought to evaluate the association of IO and immunosuppression with COVID-19 outcomes and cytokine storm occurrence among patients with cancer and COVID-19, based on data from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19).
Methods: A registry-based retrospective cohort study was conducted on patients reported to the CCC19 registry from March 2020 to September 2021. The primary outcome was defined as an ordinal scale of COVID-19 severity. The secondary outcome was the occurrence of a cytokine storm using CCC19 variables, defined as biological and clinical evidence of severe inflammation, with end-organ dysfunction (Fajgenbaum D.C. et al., N Engl J Med., 2020). The association of IO or immunosuppression with the outcomes of interest were evaluated using a multivariable logistic regression balanced for covariate distributions through inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW).
Results: A total of 10,214 patients were included, among which 482 (4.7%) received IO, 3,715 (36.4%) received non-IO systemic therapies, and 6,017 (58.9%) were untreated in the 3 months prior to COVID-19 diagnosis. No difference in COVID-19 severity or the development of a cytokine storm was found in the IO group compared to the untreated group (aOR: 0.77; 95%CI:0.45-1.32, and aOR: 1.06; 95%CI:0.42-2.67, respectively). On multivariable analysis, baseline immunosuppression was associated with worse outcomes both in relation to COVID-19 severity (aOR: 1.89; 95%CI:1.51-2.35) and the presence of a cytokine storm (aOR: 1.75; 95%CI:1.30-2.35).
Conclusions: Administration of IO was not associated with severe outcomes in patients with cancer and COVID-19, whereas pre-existing baseline immunosuppression appears to be independently associated with worse clinical outcomes including cytokine storm.