A recently released study of the impact of COVID-19 on Spanish mesothelioma patients revealed that nearly one in five contracted the disease, and of those affected, three out of four died. The research was presented at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer.
Barcelona Hospital COVID-19 Study Followed Patients with Pleural Mesothelioma
The study of the effect of COVID-19 on patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma was conducted by Dr. Susana Cedres of Vall d´Hebron University Hospital and the Institute of Oncology in Barcelona, Spain. She reviewed the medical records of 38 patients diagnosed with the rare, asbestos-related disease, looking at demographics, comorbidities, cancer treatment history and whether they were diagnosed with COVID-19.
She found that positive RT-PCR tests confirmed that seven mesothelioma patients had been infected with COVID during the pandemic. All had epithelioid histology for mesothelioma and suffered a variety of comorbidities including chronic obstructive disease, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease. The median age was 62, four of the seven were men, some had previously been smokers and some had never smoked. Some were taking anticoagulants or aspirin. Two had been being actively receiving cancer treatment at the time of their COVID-19 diagnosis, and three of those diagnosed were asymptomatic. Four had symptoms, including fever and dyspnea. In total, six of the seven were hospitalized for a median of 12 days, with all requiring oxygen and four developing bilateral pneumonia.
Four out of Seven Mesothelioma Patients Died of COVID-19 Infection
Of the seven mesothelioma patients diagnosed with COVID-19, five died. Four died of their infection. Notably, the median overall survival from time of diagnosis with mesothelioma was 17.8 months, but only 0.4 months from the time of their COVID-19 diagnosis, suggesting that patients with mesothelioma are particularly at risk from the virus. A study of COVID-19 and mortality among malignant pleural mesothelioma patients was conducted in the United States with similar results, showing that the virus created significantly worse outcomes.
Speaking of her group’s results, Dr. Cedres said, “From our experience, 18% of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma were diagnosed of COVID-19 infection during the pandemic, and these patients suffered a very high mortality rate of 54 percent. I urge health care services to pay particular attention to patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma while managing COVID-19 infections.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma it is essential that you take every precaution available to protect yourself against COVID-19 and other additional risk factors. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.