CCC19, Other Registries Help Define
COVID-19/Cancer Landscape

Sharon Worcester

July 27, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Non-Hispanic black patients with cancer and patients with hematologic malignancies have a significantly increased risk of death if they develop COVID-19, according to the latest data from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) registry.

Initial results from the CCC19 registry were reported as part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) virtual scientific program and published in The Lancet (Lancet. 2020 Jun 20;395[10241]:1907-18).

The latest data were presented at the AACR virtual meeting: COVID-19 and Cancer by Brian I. Rini, MD, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn. They were simultaneously published in Cancer Discovery (Cancer Discov. 2020 Jul 22;CD-20-0941).

The CCC19 registry was launched in March by a few institutions as part of "a grassroots collect granular data regarding cancer patients and their outcomes with COVID," Dr. Rini said.

Within a few months of its inception, the registry had partnered with more than 100 institutions worldwide and accrued data from more than 2,000 patients.

The reports in The Lancet and at ASCO included outcomes for the first 928 patients and showed a 13% mortality rate as well as a fivefold increase in the risk of 30-day mortality among patients with COVID-19 and progressing cancer.

The data also showed an increased mortality risk among older patients, men, former smokers, those with poor performance status, those with multiple comorbidities, and those treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.

The Latest Data

The CCC19 registry has grown to include 114 sites worldwide, including major comprehensive cancer centers and community sites. As of June 26, there were 2,749 patients enrolled.

Since the last data were reported, the mortality rate increased from 13% to 16% (versus 5% globally). In addition, the increased mortality risk among non-Hispanic black patients and patients with hematologic malignancies reached statistical significance, Dr. Rini said. He noted that the increase in mortality rate was largely attributable to improved follow-up.

Mechanical ventilation was required in 12% of patients, ICU admission was required in 16%, oxygen was required in 45%, and hospitalization was required in 60%. The composite outcome of death, severe illness requiring hospitalization, ICU admission, or mechanical ventilation was reached in 29% of patients, Dr. Rini said.

Mortality rates across cancer types ranged from 3% to 26%, with thyroid and breast cancer patients having the lowest rates (3% and 8%, respectively), and with lymphoma and lung cancer patients having the highest (22% and 26%, respectively), Dr. Rini said.

He noted that the TERAVOLT registry, a COVID-19 registry for patients with thoracic cancers, also showed a very high mortality rate in this subgroup of patients.

Results from TERAVOLT were reported at the AACR virtual meeting I, presented at ASCO, and published in The Lancet (Lancet Oncol. 2020 Jul;21[7]:914-22). The most recent results showed a mortality rate of nearly 36% and reinforce the high mortality rate seen in lung cancer patients in CCC19, Dr. Rini said.

Increased Mortality Risk

After adjustment for several demographic and disease characteristics, the updated CCC19 data showed a significantly increased risk of mortality among:

  • Older patients (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] per decade of age, 1.52).

  • Men (aOR, 1.43).

  • Current or former smokers vs. never smokers (aOR, 1.28).

  • Patients with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance scores of 1 vs. 0 (aOR of 1.80) or 2 vs. 0 (aOR, 4.22).

  • Stable cancer vs. remission (aOR, 1.47).

  • Progressive cancer vs. remission (aOR, 2.96).

  • Non-Hispanic Black vs. White patients (aOR, 1.56).

  • Hematologic malignancies vs. solid tumors (aOR, 1.80).

"Importantly, there were some factors that did not reach statistical significance," Dr. Rini said. These include obesity (aOR, 1.23), recent surgery (aOR, 1.05), receipt of cytotoxic chemotherapy vs. no chemotherapy (aOR, 1.14), and receipt of noncytotoxic chemotherapy vs. no chemotherapy (aOR, 0.75).

"I think this provides some reassurance that cancer care can and should continue for these patients," Dr. Rini said.

He noted, however, that in TERAVOLT, chemotherapy with or without other treatment was a risk factor for mortality in lung cancer patients when compared with no chemotherapy (OR, 1.71) and when compared with immunotherapy or targeted therapy (OR, 1.64).

NCCAPS and Other Registries

Dr. Rini discussed a number of registries looking at outcomes in COVID-19 patients with cancer, and he said the findings to date appear to confirm a higher mortality rate among cancer patients, particularly those with lung cancer.

Several factors are emerging that appear to be related to risk, including both cancer-related and non–cancer-related factors, he added.

The ongoing prospective National Cancer Institute COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study (NCCAPS) "will provide much needed longitudinal data and, importantly, biospecimen collection in a large cohort of patients who have active cancer and are receiving treatment, said Dr. Rini, who is the study's protocol chair. NCCAPS is a natural history study in that population, he said.

The planned accrual is about 2,000 patients who will be followed for up to 2 years for data collection, imaging scans, and research specimens.

The use of specimens is "a unique and special part of this study," Dr. Rini said, explaining that the specimens will be used to look for development of antibodies over time, to describe the trajectory of cytokine abnormalities — especially in patients with more acute inpatient courses — to perform DNA-based genome-wide association studies, and to assess coagulation parameters.

NCCAPS is activated at 546 sites, 10 patients were enrolled as of June 21, and rapid accrual is expected over the next several months, he said.

Gypsyamber D'Souza, PhD, session moderator and an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, acknowledged the challenge that registry administrators face when trying to balance the need to get data out against the desire to ask the right questions and to have the right comparison groups, stratification, and analyses, especially amid a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Rini said it has indeed been a bit of a struggle with CCC19 to determine what information should be published and when, and what constitutes an important update.

"It's been a learning experience, and frankly, I think we're still learning," he said. "This has been such a unique time in terms of a rush to get data out, balanced against making sure that there's quality data and that you're actually answering important questions."

In fact, a number of ongoing registries "should start to produce great data [that will be presented] at upcoming big conferences," Dr. Rini said. He added that those data "will help piece together different important aspects of this and different hypotheses, and hopefully complement the clinical data that's starting to come out."

The CCC19 registry is sponsored by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Dr. Rini disclosed relationships with Pfizer, Merck, Genentech/Roche, Aveo, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Exelixis, Synthorx, Peloton, Compugen, Corvus, Surface Oncology, 3DMedicines, Aravive, Alkermes, Arrowhead, and PTC Therapeutics. Dr. D'Souza did not disclose any conflicts.

SOURCE: Rini BI. AACR: COVID-19 and Cancer. Abstract IA26.

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