Poor outcomes for patients with cancer and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-related disease (COVID-19) have been reported so far. Although anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG response is usually detectable within three weeks after infection, limited information on the seroconversion rate of patients with cancer infected by SARS-CoV-2 is available.
This is a multicenter, observational, prospective study that included patients and oncology healthcare workers (HCWs) with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by RT-PCR or clinical/radiological suspicious of infection as well as patients with cancer who are considered at high risk for infection. All subjects were tested with the 2019-nCoV IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassett for the fast detection of IgG and IgM antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The aim of the study was to evaluate anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion rates by qualitative assay in patients with cancer and HCWs with confirmed or clinically suspected COVID-19.
At first interim analysis, 166 subjects were enrolled in the study. Cancer patients and HCWs were 61 (36.7%) and 105 (63.3%), respectively. HCWs were younger than patients with cancer (median age 41 vs 62 years; P<0.001). Eighty-six subjects (51.8%) had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis by RT-PCR testing on nasopharyngeal swab specimen, while forty-nine (29.5%) had a clinical suspicious of COVID-19 in absence of RT-PCR confirmation. In patients with RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, 62 (83.8%) were IgG-positive. Neither differences in terms of IgG positivity (87.9% vs 80.5%; P=0.39) nor in median time from COVID-19 diagnosis to IgG detection (23.0 vs 28.0 days; P=0.21) were found between patients with cancer and HCWs.
Our data show that SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibody response is not different between cancer patients and healthy subjects. Qualitative rapid test for antibody detection represents an useful support to RNA RT-PCR testing for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in high-risk populations, including patients with cancer.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Istituto Europeo di Oncologia IRCCS.
This work was partially supported by the Italian Ministry of Health with Ricerca Corrente and 5x1000 funds. MEDnoTE srl (Spin-off of University of Trieste) supported the present study by providing the rapid test used for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection.
D.G. Generali: Honoraria (self), Advisory/Consultancy, Speaker Bureau/Expert testimony, Travel/Accommodation/Expenses: Novartis, Pfizer, Lilly. G. Curigliano: Speaker Bureau/Expert testimony: MSD; Advisory/Consultancy: Mylan, Daichii Sankyo; Advisory/Consultancy, Speaker Bureau/Expert testimony: Lilly, Pfizer, Merck, Foundation Medicine, Samsung, Celltrion; Advisory/Consultancy, Speaker Bureau/Expert testimony: Seattle Genetics, Nanostring; Advisory/Consultancy, Speaker Bureau/Expert testimony: Roche; Speaker Bureau/Expert testimony: Novartis, BMS; Honoraria (self): Ellipsis. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.