THURSDAY, July 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For adults with invasive cancer and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, treatment with hydroxychloroquine in combination with any other drug is associated with increased mortality, according to a study published online July 22 in Cancer Discovery.

Donna R. Rivera, Pharm.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues examined the association between COVID-19 treatments and 30-day all-cause mortality among 2,186 U.S. adults with invasive cancer and laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The researchers found that mortality was increased for the use of hydroxychloroquine with any other drug compared with any COVID-19 treatment other than hydroxychloroquine or untreated controls; the association was not seen for hydroxychloroquine alone. Numerically reduced mortality was seen with remdesivir compared with untreated controls, although the association did not reach statistical significance. High-dose corticosteroids alone were numerically associated with increased 30-day all-cause mortality, although the association was not significant. High-dose corticosteroids plus any other therapy correlated with significantly increased mortality. Baseline COVID-19 disease severity was the major factor associated with receipt of any drug. The likelihood of receiving remdesivir was half for black versus white patients.

“We can be much more definitive in stating the risk and ineffectiveness of hydroxychloroquine with this enhanced analysis,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This higher mortality association is despite what appears to be rational decision making, such as less utilization of this drug in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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