BACKGROUND: Fifteen percent of patients with cancer experience symptomatic sequelae, which impair post-COVID-19 outcomes. In this study, we investigated whether a proinflammatory status is associated with the development of COVID-19 sequelae. METHODS: OnCovid recruited 2795 consecutive patients who were diagnosed with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 infection between February 27, 2020, and February 14, 2021. This analysis focused on COVID-19 survivors who underwent a clinical reassessment after the exclusion of patients with hematological malignancies. We evaluated the association of inflammatory markers collected at COVID-19 diagnosis with sequelae, considering the impact of previous systemic anticancer therapy. All statistical tests were 2-sided. RESULTS: Of 1339 eligible patients, 203 experienced at least 1 sequela (15.2%). Median baseline C-reactive protein (CRP; 77.5 mg/L vs 22.2 mg/L, P < .001), lactate dehydrogenase (310 UI/L vs 274 UI/L, P = .03), and the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR; 6.0 vs 4.3, P = .001) were statistically significantly higher among patients who experienced sequelae, whereas no association was reported for the platelet to lymphocyte ratio and the OnCovid Inflammatory Score, which includes albumin and lymphocytes. The widest area under the ROC curve (AUC) was reported for baseline CRP (AUC = 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.63 to 0.69), followed by the NLR (AUC = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.55 to 0.61) and lactate dehydrogenase (AUC = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.52 to 0.61). Using a fixed categorical multivariable analysis, high CRP (odds ratio [OR] = 2.56, 95% CI: 1.67 to 3.91) and NLR (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.01 to 2.10) were confirmed to be statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of sequelae. Exposure to chemotherapy was associated with a decreased risk of sequelae (OR = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.36 to 0.91), whereas no associations with immune checkpoint inhibitors, endocrine therapy, and other types of systemic anticancer therapy were found. CONCLUSIONS: Although the association between inflammatory status, recent chemotherapy and sequelae warrants further investigation, our findings suggest that a deranged proinflammatory reaction at COVID-19 diagnosis may predict for sequelae development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-987
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2022


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