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Systemic pro-inflammatory response identifies patients with cancer with adverse outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection: The OnCovid Inflammatory Score

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Gino M. Dettorre, Saoirse Dolly, Angela Loizidou, John Chester, Amanda Jackson, Uma Mukherjee, Alberto Zambelli, Juan Aguilar-Company, Mark Bower, Christopher C.T. Sng, Ramon Salazar, Alexia Bertuzzi, Joan Brunet, Ricard Mesia, Ailsa Sita-Lumsden, Elia Seguí, Federica Biello, Daniele Generali, Salvatore Grisanti, Pavetha Seeva & 41 more Gianpiero Rizzo, Michela Libertini, Antonio MacOni, Charlotte Moss, Beth Russell, Nadia Harbeck, Bruno Vincenzi, Rossella Bertulli, Diego Ottaviani, Raquel Liñan, Andrea Marrari, M. Carmen Carmona-García, Neha Chopra, Carlo Alberto Tondini, Oriol Mirallas, Valeria Tovazzi, Vittoria Fotia, Claudia Andrea Cruz, Nadia Saoudi-Gonzalez, Eudald Felip, Ariadna Roqué, Alvin J.X. Lee, Tom Newsom-Davis, David García-Illescas, Roxana Reyes, Yien Ning Sophia Wong, Daniela Ferrante, Lorenza Scotti, Javier Marco-Hernández, Isabel Ruiz-Camps, Andrea Patriarca, Lorenza Rimassa, Lorenzo Chiudinelli, Michela Franchi, Armando Santoro, Aleix Prat, Alessandra Gennari, Mieke Van Hemelrijck, Josep Tabernero, Nikolaos Diamantis, David J. Pinato

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002277
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number3
Published22 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This work was supported by grant funding from the Wellcome Trust Strategic Fund (PS3416 to DJP) and acknowledges infrastructural support by the Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre and the Imperial NIHR BRC. AG is supported by the AIRC IG (grant number 14230), Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro Foundation, Milan, Italy. Publisher Copyright: © Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Background Patients with cancer are particularly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The systemic inflammatory response is a pathogenic mechanism shared by cancer progression and COVID-19. We investigated systemic inflammation as a driver of severity and mortality from COVID-19, evaluating the prognostic role of commonly used inflammatory indices in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with cancer accrued to the OnCovid study. Methods In a multicenter cohort of SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with cancer in Europe, we evaluated dynamic changes in neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio (NLR); platelet:lymphocyte ratio (PLR); Prognostic Nutritional Index (PNI), renamed the OnCovid Inflammatory Score (OIS); modified Glasgow Prognostic Score (mGPS); and Prognostic Index (PI) in relation to oncological and COVID-19 infection features, testing their prognostic potential in independent training (n=529) and validation (n=542) sets. Results We evaluated 1071 eligible patients, of which 625 (58.3%) were men, and 420 were patients with malignancy in advanced stage (39.2%), most commonly genitourinary (n=216, 20.2%). 844 (78.8%) had ≥1 comorbidity and 754 (70.4%) had ≥1 COVID-19 complication. NLR, OIS, and mGPS worsened at COVID-19 diagnosis compared with pre-COVID-19 measurement (p<0.01), recovering in survivors to pre-COVID-19 levels. Patients in poorer risk categories for each index except the PLR exhibited higher mortality rates (p<0.001) and shorter median overall survival in the training and validation sets (p<0.01). Multivariable analyses revealed the OIS to be most independently predictive of survival (validation set HR 2.48, 95% CI 1.47 to 4.20, p=0.001; adjusted concordance index score 0.611). Conclusions Systemic inflammation is a validated prognostic domain in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with cancer and can be used as a bedside predictor of adverse outcome. Lymphocytopenia and hypoalbuminemia as computed by the OIS are independently predictive of severe COVID-19, supporting their use for risk stratification. Reversal of the COVID-19-induced proinflammatory state is a putative therapeutic strategy in patients with cancer.

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