MONDAY, Dec. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Patients with cancer who develop breakthrough infection following COVID-19 vaccination remain at risk for severe outcomes, according to a study published online Dec. 24 in the Annals of Oncology.

Andrew L. Schmidt, M.B., B.S., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues examined the clinical features of patients with cancer who developed symptomatic COVID-19 following vaccination and compared outcomes to those of contemporary unvaccinated patients. Data were included for 1,787 patients with cancer and COVID-19: 1,656 were unvaccinated, 77 were partially vaccinated, and 54 were fully vaccinated.

The researchers found that patients with cancer who developed COVID-19 after vaccination had considerable comorbidities. There was no statistically significant difference in 30-day mortality observed between fully vaccinated patients versus the unvaccinated cohort (adjusted odds ratio, 1.08; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.41 to 2.82). Furthermore, there were no significant differences in intensive care unit/mechanical ventilation or hospitalization rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients. Among vaccinated patients with cancer who developed symptomatic COVID-19, patients harboring hematologic malignancies were overrepresented.

“Patients with cancer who develop breakthrough COVID-19 even following full vaccination can still experience severe outcomes, including death,” a coauthor said in a statement. “That is why a multilayered approach that includes masking and social distancing, along with vaccination plus booster against COVID-19 remains an essential approach for the foreseeable future.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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