Race and Medicine

Race and Medicine

Source:

Pandya C, et al. Abstract 122. Presented at: 2020 ASCO Quality Care Symposium (virtual); Oct. 9-10, 2020.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
October 22, 2020
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Black patients with cancer may face higher risk for hospitalization due to COVID-19

Source:

Pandya C, et al. Abstract 122. Presented at: 2020 ASCO Quality Care Symposium (virtual); Oct. 9-10, 2020.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Black patients with cancer appeared more than twice as likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 as white patients, according to results of a single-center study presented during ASCO Quality Care Symposium.

“Racial minority patients with cancer might need a higher level of adherence to pandemic mitigation interventions to lower the extent of COVID-19 transmission and morbidity,” Chintan J. Pandya, MBBS, MPH, PhD, assistant scientist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said during a presentation.

Black patients with cancer appeared more than twice as likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than white patients.

Multiple reports have emerged of possible racial disparities in COVID-19 illness severity and health consequences for historically underrepresented groups in the U.S. However, similar data for patients with cancer and COVID-19 infection have been lacking.

Pandya and colleagues sought to evaluate the impact of race on hospitalization among these patients. They retrospectively studied electronic health records of 557 patients with cancer who tested positive for COVID-19 between March 1 and June 10 and visited a single cancer center at least once in the past year.

Patient data retrieved from the EHR included demographics, noncancer comorbidities, cancer type and treatment.

Among the patients, 325 (58%) were female, 79 (14%) were Black, and 225 (40%) had two or more comorbidities. Further, 47 had received any systemic cancer treatment in the 30 days prior to COVID-19 testing.

Hospitalization served as the primary endpoint. ED visits, assessed from the date of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis to 30 days after diagnosis, served as the secondary endpoint.

Results showed 96 patients required in-patient hospital visits, of whom 18 (19%) were Black, and 56 patients visited the ED, of whom 15 (27%) were Black.

Mean length of hospital stay was 7.86 ± 11.6 days.

Multivariate analysis after controlling for demographics, comorbidities and cancer variables showed independent associations of Black race with higher odds of hospitalization (OR = 2.19; 95% CI, 1.2-3.8).

Researchers also found that patients with no noncancer comorbidities had significantly lower odds of hospitalization than patients with three or more comorbidities (OR = 0.19; P < .05).

More research is needed to determine whether the results apply to a broader population, according to the researchers.

“Black race was independently associated with higher odds of hospitalization for COVID-19 compared with white patients with cancer, after adjusting for confounding factors,” Pandya said. “When a vaccine for COVID-19 is available, it should be offered to high-risk patients first. For now, preventive measures are the most effective tool.”