SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load Predicts Mortality in Patients with and without Cancer Who Are Hospitalized with COVID-19.

TitleSARS-CoV-2 Viral Load Predicts Mortality in Patients with and without Cancer Who Are Hospitalized with COVID-19.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsWestblade LF, Brar G, Pinheiro LC, Paidoussis D, Rajan M, Martin P, Goyal P, Sepulveda JL, Zhang L, George G, Liu D, Whittier S, Plate M, Small CB, Rand JH, Cushing MM, Walsh TJ, Cooke J, Safford MM, Loda M, Satlin MJ
JournalCancer Cell
Date Published2020 11 09
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, Betacoronavirus, Case-Control Studies, Coronavirus Infections, COVID-19, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Hospitalization, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, New York, Pandemics, Pneumonia, Viral, Prognosis, Retrospective Studies, SARS-CoV-2, Survival Rate, Viral Load

Patients with cancer may be at increased risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the role of viral load on this risk is unknown. We measured SARS-CoV-2 viral load using cycle threshold (C) values from reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assays applied to nasopharyngeal swab specimens in 100 patients with cancer and 2,914 without cancer who were admitted to three New York City hospitals. Overall, the in-hospital mortality rate was 38.8% among patients with a high viral load, 24.1% among patients with a medium viral load, and 15.3% among patients with a low viral load (p < 0.001). Similar findings were observed in patients with cancer (high, 45.2% mortality; medium, 28.0%; low, 12.1%; p = 0.008). Patients with hematologic malignancies had higher median viral loads (C = 25.0) than patients without cancer (C = 29.2; p = 0.0039). SARS-CoV-2 viral load results may offer vital prognostic information for patients with and without cancer who are hospitalized with COVID-19.

Alternate JournalCancer Cell
PubMed ID32997958
PubMed Central IDPMC7492074
Grant ListUL1 TR002384 / TR / NCATS NIH HHS / United States
Related Faculty: 
Jacob H. Rand, M.D. Lars Westblade, Ph.D. Massimo Loda, M.D. Melissa Cushing, M.D.


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