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Comment & Response
July 2, 2020

Risk of COVID-19 in Patients With Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Haaglanden Medisch Centrum, The Hague, the Netherlands
JAMA Oncol. Published online July 2, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2580

To the Editor In their article in JAMA Oncology, Yu et al1 reported an increased incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in patients with cancer compared with the general population of Wuhan, China. The authors hypothesized this relation to be secondary to an immunocompromised state in patients with cancer. Contrary to hematologic cancers, the link between solid cancers and risk of infection is unclear. It is this author’s opinion that this report provides no support for this connection.

The authors compared the total number of cases with the number of patients with cancer diagnosed with COVID-19. This approach is hampered by an insufficient understanding of the true number of cases. One study estimated that up to 50% of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in Wuhan might be asymptomatic.2 Considering this degree of uncertainty and the low number of affected patients with cancer in this study, there is insufficient certainty to reliably conclude an increased incidence in patients with cancer.

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