Hem/Onc Roundup: Patients with Cancer Show COVID-19 Immune Response, FDA Re-Evaluates Drug Approvals

This week on DocWire, a new study found that patients with cancer who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) produce antibodies at a similar rate to patients without cancer. In this retrospective study, researchers assessed 261 patients with cancer, 77% of whom were diagnosed with solid malignancies and 23% with hematologic (blood) malignancies. The results showed that 92% of patients produced antibodies following infection.

Cancer Patients with COVID-19 Produce Antibodies at Comparable Rate to Non-Cancer Patients


In other news, the FDA announced that it will hold a public meeting of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee to discuss six indications for oncology drugs that were granted accelerated approval. Following the approvals, results from confirmatory trials have not verified clinical benefit of these agents. “When confirmatory trials do not confirm clinical benefit, a reevaluation must be performed to determine if the approval should be withdrawn,” said Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence.

FDA Will Re-Evaluate Accelerated Approval for Six Cancer Drugs


Cancer-bereaved parents may still exhibit more psychological distress symptoms two to eight years after losing their child compared to non-bereaved parents, a study discovered. When compared to non-bereaved parents, those who had lost a child to cancer sustained significantly more symptoms of psychological distress—but not clinical psychological distress. Among those who lost a child, those with high resilience or who had coped with their grief had lower psychological distress.

Parents Who Lose Child to Cancer May Need Long-term Support


Despite differences in costs upfront, patients with prostate cancer who undergo open radical prostatectomy (ORP) versus robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy have similar health care costs one year after treatment, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. “Robotic may be associated with lower postdischarge health care use, which may offset the higher costs during the index hospitalization,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion.

At One Year, Health Care Costs Do Not Differ Between Open vs. Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy