The last 16 months have been particularly challenging for mesothelioma patients, whose health concerns have been exacerbated by fear of COVID-19. Aware of their additional vulnerabilities and physical frailty, patients have delayed appointments and shut themselves away from family and friends out of fear of exposure to the virus. Now that coronavirus vaccines are widely available, an encouraging study out of Israel has indicated that patients undergoing chemotherapy and other traditional cancer therapies experience an adequate immune response to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Israeli Study Examines Vaccine’s Impact on Patients With Solid Tumors Like Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is a solid tumor most frequently treated with protocols including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. A study conducted by Salomon M. Stemmer, MD, of Rabin Medical Center of Bellinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel found that 90% of patients with solid tumors were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antispike IgG antibodies after a second dose of the vaccine.
Though patients with solid cancers like mesothelioma had lower levels of antibody titers than was true of healthy patients, the protection that the vaccine provided was still considered to be enough to protect them. Writing in JAMA Oncology, the researchers wrote, “The findings of this study suggest that patients with cancer who are receiving active treatment and are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease respond well to messenger RNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and that vaccination of these patients should be seriously considered.”
Mesothelioma Patients at Higher Risk for COVID-19 Complications and Death
The fear of COVID-19 has been palpable among mesothelioma patients, whose physicians have made them well aware that they have a higher risk of developing COVID-19 complications and death. The development of effective vaccines has offered significant hope around the world, though there have been concerns about whether they would offer enough of an antibody response for patients with cancer. The study provides reassurance, with 92 out of 102 cancer patients found to be seropositive after the second dose. Patient undergoing chemotherapy plus immunotherapy had lower titers than other patients, which is something for physicians to be mindful of, but the researchers concluded, “Our findings do suggest that vaccinating such patients during anticancer treatment of any kind should be a top priority.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, taking precautions against complicating health factors is essential. For information on resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.