DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.31617 ISSN:

SARS-CoV-2 Infection, Hospitalization, and Mortality in Adults With and Without Cancer

Seyed M. Hosseini-Moghaddam, Frances A. Shepherd, Sarah Swayze, Jeffrey C. Kwong, Kelvin K. W. Chan
  • General Medicine


Patients with cancer are at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2–associated adverse outcomes.


To determine the associations of tumor type with SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and death.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This retrospective, population-based cohort study included community-dwelling adults aged at least 18 years in Ontario, Canada, ICES-linked provincial health databases from January 1, 2020, to November 30, 2021. Data were analyzed from December 1, 2021, to November 1, 2022.


Cancer diagnosis.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 infection, and secondary outcomes included all-cause 14-day hospitalization, 21-day ICU admission, and 28-day death following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Cox proportional hazards models were used to obtain adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% CIs.


Of 11 732 108 people in the ICES-linked health databases, 279 287 had cancer (57.2% female; mean [SD] age, 65.9 [16.1] years) and 11 452 821 people did not have cancer (45.7% female; mean [SD] age, 65.9 [16.0] years). Overall, 464 574 individuals (4.1%) developed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Individuals with hematologic malignant neoplasms (33 901 individuals) were at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (aHR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.13-1.25), 14-day hospitalization (aHR, 1.75; 95% CI, 1.57-1.96), and 28-day mortality (aHR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.74-2.38) compared with the overall population, while individuals with solid tumors (245 386 individuals) were at lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (aHR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.91-0.95) but increased risk of 14-day hospitalization (aHR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.05-1.18) and 28-day mortality (aHR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.19-1.44). The 28-day mortality rate was high in hospitalized patients with hematologic malignant neoplasms (163 of 321 hospitalized patients [50.7%]) or solid tumors (486 of 1060 hospitalized patients [45.8%]). However, the risk of 21-day ICU admission in patients with hematologic malignant neoplasms (aHR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.93-1.40) or solid tumors (aHR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.82-1.05) was not significantly different from that among individuals without cancer. The SARS-CoV-2 infection risk decreased stepwise with increasing numbers of COVID-19 vaccine doses received (1 dose: aHR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.62-0.63; 2 doses: aHR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.16-0.16; 3 doses: aHR, 0.05; 95% CI, 0.04-0.06).

Conclusions and Relevance

These findings highlight the importance of prioritization strategies regarding ICU access to reduce the mortality risk in increased-risk populations, such as patients with cancer.

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