Treatment result and prognosis for cancer patients with a coronavirus infection

SAKK 80/20 CaSA

Coordinating investigator

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. nat.
Markus
Jörger
Kantonsspital St. Gallen
+41 76 559 10 70

An infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, is particularly dangerous for older people and those with a serious pre-existing condition. The SAKK 80/20 study aims to find out what effect a COVID-19 illness has on cancer patients.

At the end of December 2019 the first patients in Wuhan, China, fell ill with pneumonia caused by the newly discovered coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The virus then spread from China throughout the world and resulted in a pandemic from February 2020. SARS-CoV-2 infections can cause severe pneumonia that requires ventilation, multiple organ failure, and death. The condition is particularly serious in older people and those with a chronic pre-existing condition such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease or cancer. 

COVID-19 in cancer patients

Cancer patients are more susceptible to infections than people without cancer due to their weakened immune systems (caused by the illness and/or cancer treatment). Cancer patients with COVID-19 may therefore be at a higher risk of serious illness and a worse prognosis. Little is currently known about these connections. However, it is important to gain more precise knowledge, as this may affect the treatment of cancer patients, for example the postponement of chemotherapy or non-urgent operations on stable cancer patients in endemic areas, increased personal infection protection for cancer patients, or more intense monitoring and treatment of cancer patients with COVID-19.

What factors influence the prognosis?

The observational study SAKK 80/20 (CaSA study) will examine the relationships between SARS-CoV-2 infection and cancers, including hospitalization rates, treatment in intensive care units, and deaths. It will also investigate factors that may influence the patient’s prognosis, such as gender, age, type of cancer, stage of tumor, previous cancer treatment, etc.

Real-world data from Swiss hospitals

The analyses will be based on real-world data (data from day-to-day clinical practice) from treatment centers in Switzerland that are members of SAKK. Oncologists working in these 23 centers will include patients in the study who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021, and were or are suffering from cancer at the same time. The oncologists providing treatment will record the clinically relevant patient data regarding the cancer and SARS-CoV-2 infection in a database. As this is an observational study without interventions, there will be no additional burden on the participants. The data will be analyzed every three months and the relevant findings published.

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