Risk factors of SARS-CoV-2 infection and complications from COVID-19 in lung cancer patients

Apar Kishor Ganti, Nathanael R. Fillmore, John Bihn, Jennifer La, Mary T. Brophy, Nhan V. Do, Michael Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Identifying lung cancer patients at an increased risk of getting SARS-CoV-2-related complications will facilitate tailored therapy to maximize the benefit of anti-cancer therapy, while decreasing the likelihood of COVID-19 complications. This analysis aimed to identify the characteristics of lung cancer patients that predict for increased risk of death or serious SARS-CoV-2 infection. Patients and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with lung cancer diagnosed October 1, 2015, and December 1, 2020, and a diagnosis of COVID-19 between February 2, 2020, and December 1, 2020, within the Veterans Health Administration. Serious SARS-CoV-2 infection was defined as hospitalization, ICU admission, or mechanical ventilation or intubation within 2 weeks of COVID-19 diagnosis. For categorical variables, differences were assessed using Χ2 tests, while Kruskal–Wallis rank-sum test was used for continuous variables. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit relative to onset of serious SARS-CoV-2 infection and death from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results: COVID-19 infection was diagnosed in 352 lung cancer patients. Of these, 61 patients (17.3%) died within four weeks of diagnosis with COVID-19, and 42 others (11.9%) experienced a severe infection. Patients who had fatal or severe infection were older and had lower hemoglobin levels than those with mild or moderate infection. Factors associated with death from SARS-CoV-2 infection included increasing age, immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy and low hemoglobin level. Conclusions: The mortality of lung cancer patients from COVID-19 disease in the present cohort was less than previously reported in the literature. The identification of risk factors associated with severe or fatal outcomes informs management of patients with lung cancer who develop COVID-19 disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-542
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19 disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Mortality
  • Outcomes
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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