Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were questions about how people in active cancer treatment would fare if they became infected with SARS-CoV-2. The worries were due, in large part, to the effects that cancer and its treatments can have on the immune system. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, concerns have shifted to the safety and effectiveness of vaccination in this potentially vulnerable population. A study published June 5 in the journal Cancer Cell aims to allay those fears.
In a review of 200 patients with a wide spectrum of cancer diagnoses, researchers at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, found that after full vaccination, 94% of patients overall demonstrated seroconversion, which was determined by the presence of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Response rates were very high among patients with solid tumors and were lower in people with certain blood cancers, but even the majority of those patients mounted an immune response.