COVID-19 in cancer patients: Update from the joint analysis of the ESMO-CoCARE, BSMO, and PSMO international databases

Z Tsourti, L Castelo-Branco, Azambuja E de, S Gennatas, J Rogado, S Šušnjar, D Viñal, R Lee, S Khallaf, E Romano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: COVID-19 has significantly affected patients with cancer and revealed unanticipated challenges in securing optimal cancer care across different disciplines. The European Society for Medical Oncology COVID-19 and CAncer REgistry (ESMO-CoCARE) is an international, real-world database, collecting data on the natural history, management, and outcomes of patients with cancer and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods: This is the 2nd CoCARE analysis, jointly with Belgian (Belgian Society of Medical Oncology, BSMO) and Portuguese (Portuguese Society of Medical Oncology, PSMO) registries, with data from January 2020 to December 2021. The aim is to identify significant prognostic factors for COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality (primary outcomes), as well as intensive care unit admission and overall survival (OS) (secondary outcomes). Subgroup analyses by pandemic phase and vaccination status were carried out. Results: The cohort includes 3294 patients (CoCARE: 2049; BSMO: 928, all hospitalized by eligibility criteria; PSMO: 317), diagnosed in four distinct pandemic phases (January to May 2020: 36%; June to September 2020: 9%; October 2020 to February 2021: 41%; March to December 2021: 12%). COVID-19 hospitalization rate was 54% (CoCARE/PSMO), ICU admission 14%, and COVID-19 mortality 22% (all data). At a 6-month median follow-up, 1013 deaths were recorded with 73% 3-month OS rate. No significant change was observed in COVID-19 mortality among hospitalized patients across the four pandemic phases (30%-33%). Hospitalizations and ICU admission decreased significantly (from 78% to 34% and 16% to 10%, respectively). Among 1522 patients with known vaccination status at COVID-19 diagnosis, 70% were non-vaccinated, 24% had incomplete vaccination, and 7% complete vaccination. Complete vaccination had a protective effect on hospitalization (odds ratio = 0.24; 95% confidence interval [0.14-0.38]), ICU admission (odds ratio = 0.29 [0.09-0.94]), and OS (hazard ratio = 0.39 [0.20-0.76]). In multivariable analyses, COVID-19 hospitalization was associated with patient/cancer characteristics, the first pandemic phase, the presence of COVID-19-related symptoms or inflammatory biomarkers, whereas COVID-19 mortality was significantly higher in symptomatic patients, males, older age, ethnicity other than Asian/Caucasian, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status ≥2, body mass index <25, hematological malignancy, progressive disease versus no evident disease, and advanced cancer stage. Conclusions: The updated CoCARE analysis, jointly with BSMO and PSMO, highlights factors that significantly affect COVID-19 outcomes, providing actionable clues for further reducing mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101566
JournalESMO Open
Issue number3
Early online date4 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2023


  • Male
  • Humans
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Risk Factors
  • Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Medical Oncology
  • Registries
  • cancer
  • oncology
  • vaccination


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