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Comment & Response
July 2, 2020

Risk of COVID-19 in Patients With Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Radiotherapy, The First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  • 2Department of Biostatistics, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • 3Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease of Zhejiang Province, Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
JAMA Oncol. Published online July 2, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2577

To the Editor We read the article by Yu and colleagues1 published in JAMA Oncology with great interest. In this article, Yu et al reported that patients with cancer have a notably higher risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) compared with that of overall population in Wuhan, China, which shares a similar conclusion with a recent report by Liang et al.2 Also, the authors found that age older than 60 years is an independent risk factor of COVID-19 in individuals with lung cancer.

COVID-19 has been officially declared a global pandemic, and the needs of patients with particular vulnerabilities require particular attention. To date, a number of comorbidities have evidently contributed to the incidence of COVID-19.3 However, it has been well documented that diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and cancer are closely related to age. In China Statistical Yearbook 2019,4 people older than 50 years accounted for 32% of the total population. In a report by Guan et al5 among 1011 patients with COVID-19, 44% were older than 50 years, suggesting that the risk of COVID-19 in older adult patients may be higher. Thus, before probing the underlying diseases associated with higher susceptibility to COVID-19, we must stratify the patients in terms of age. Hence, to determine the role of cancer in COVID-19, a comparison of incidence of COVID-19 between patients in the same age group with and without cancer will be of great importance.

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