Immunotherapy may protect cancer patients from SARS-CoV-2 infection: a single-center retrospective analysis

Maria Antonietta Isgrò, Maria Grazia Vitale, Egidio Celentano, Flavia Nocerino, Giuseppe Porciello, Marcello Curvietto, Domenico Mallardo, Concetta Montagnese, Luigi Russo, Nicoletta Zanaletti, Antonio Avallone, Matilde Pensabene, Michelino De Laurentiis, Sara Centonze, Sandro Pignata, Lucia Cannella, Alessandro Morabito, Francesco Caponigro, Gerardo Botti, Giuseppe Valentino MasucciDiana Giannarelli, Ernesta Cavalcanti, Paolo Antonio Ascierto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic has created unique challenges to healthcare systems throughout the world. Ensuring subjects’ safety is mandatory especially in oncology, in consideration of cancer patients’ particular frailty. We examined the proportion of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) IgM and/or IgG positive subjects in three different groups from Istituto Nazionale Tumori – IRCCS “Fondazione G. Pascale” in Naples (Campania region, Italy): cancer patients treated with Innovative Immunotherapy (Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors, ICIs), cancer patients undergoing standard Chemotherapies (CHTs) and healthcare providers. 9 out of 287 (3.1%) ICIs patients resulted positive, with a significant lower percentage in respect to CHTs patients (39 positive subjects out of 598, 6.5%) (p = 0.04). There was no statistically significant difference between ICIs cohort and healthcare providers, 48 out of 1050 resulting positive (4.6%). Performing a Propensity Score Matching based on gender and tumor stage, the effect of treatment on seropositivity was analyzed through a regression logistic model and the ICIs treatment resulted to be the only protective factor significantly (p = 0.03) associated with positivity (odds ratio—OR: 0.41; 95% confidence interval—CI 0.18–0.91). According to these preliminary data, ICIs would appear to be a protective factor against the onset of COVID-19 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Chemotherapy
  • ICIs
  • Immunotherapy
  • SARS-CoV-2 infections
  • SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Immunotherapy may protect cancer patients from SARS-CoV-2 infection: a single-center retrospective analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this