Mortality in patients with cancer and coronavirus disease 2019: A systematic review and pooled analysis of 52 studies

Kamal S. Saini, Marco Tagliamento, Matteo Lambertini, Richard McNally, Marco Romano, Manuela Leone, Giuseppe Curigliano, Evandro de Azambuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who have underlying malignancy have a higher mortality rate compared with those without cancer, although the magnitude of such excess risk is not clearly defined. We performed a systematic review and pooled analysis to provide precise estimates of the mortality rate among patients with both cancer and COVID-19. Methods: A systematic literature search involving peer-reviewed publications, preprints and conference proceedings up to July 16, 2020, was performed. The primary end-point was the case fatality rate (CFR), defined as the rate of death among patients with cancer and COVID-19. The CFR was assessed with a random effects model, which was used to derive a pooled CFR and its 95% confidence interval (CI). Results: Fifty-two studies, involving a total of 18,650 patients with both COVID-19 and cancer, were selected for the pooled analysis. A total of 4243 deaths were recorded in this population. The probability of death was 25.6% (95% CI: 22.0%–29.5%; I2 = 48.9%) in this patient population. Conclusions: Patients with cancer who develop COVID-19 have high probability of mortality. Appropriate and aggressive preventive measures must be taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in patients with cancer and to optimally manage those who do contract the infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Cancer
  • CFR
  • COVID-19
  • Death rate
  • Malignancy
  • Mortality
  • Pandemic
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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