More Evidence COVID Vaccine Offers Good Protection for Most Cancer Patients – Consumer Health News

WEDNESDAY, April 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Vaccines have protected most cancer patients well against COVID-19, but those with blood cancers remain at risk for breakthrough infections, new research suggests.

The study analyzed nationwide data from more than 64,000 U.S. cancer patients who had been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. The researchers looked at types of cancer, major treatments and other risk factors, including age, gender, race, whether patients had other diseases and where they lived.

“This type of analysis is only possible because we have a huge cohort and control cohort,” said study leader Jing Su, an assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

The US National Institutes of Health’s COVID database – one of the world’s largest – includes more than 12.5 million patients and 4.5 million COVID-19 patients.

The good news: Researchers found that for all cancers, the risk of breakthrough COVID infection decreased after their second vaccine dose.

But patients with blood cancers — including leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphoma — were at higher risk for breakthrough COVID infections than patients with solid cancers, the study found.

And which vaccine patients received mattered.

The Moderna vaccine was more effective than the Pfizer vaccine for patients with blood cancers, especially those with multiple myeloma, the researchers found.

The findings are expected to help guide the care of cancer patients with COVID-19, as well as the development of immune system-based cancer treatments, Su said. They could predict which patient populations might respond best to certain treatments, including treatments that depend on a patient’s immune capabilities.

“In fact, the COVID pandemic presents us with a unique opportunity to screen the immune competence of all cancer patients nationally,” Su said in a university press release. “We could use this to mimic the differential immune capabilities of cancer patients. This could help us better understand whether cancer patients will respond well to cancer vaccines and whether they are at higher risk of infection from other viruses, such as the flu.”

The researchers, from 10 research institutes in the United States, are now working to answer additional questions about waning immunity and the effectiveness of booster shots.

“With the emergence of new variants, especially the BA.2, we don’t know if there will be another wave on the way,” Su said. “We are monitoring the situation to see what new variants will mean for cancer patients and how we can best protect them through vaccination.”

The findings were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Other recent research has also focused on the effectiveness of vaccines in cancer patients.

More information

The US National Cancer Institute has more about COVID vaccines and cancer patients.

SOURCE: Indiana University School of Medicine, press release, April 4, 2022

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