Edinburgh Cancer Research

Clinical fellow contributed to a study evaluating COVID-19 risk among cancer patients

One of our Clinical Research Training Fellows contributed to a study providing a detailed analysis of risk to cancer patients with COVID-19: August 2020

Logo of the the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Programme

Karin Purshouse, Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT) Clinical Lecturer and PhD student in the laboratories of Prof Steven Pollard and Prof Wendy Bickmore, has been part of a UK-wide team setting up the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Programme. As a Medical Oncology Registrar, Karin placed her PhD research project on hold during the coronavirus crisis and is the Clinical Outreach and Scotland Lead for the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Programme (UKCCMP), which aims to identify and learn from every case of COVID-19 in cancer patients in the UK.

The data from patients enrolled in the UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project have recently been used to evaluate COVID-19 risk according to tumour subtype and patient demographics in the cancer population. The work involving multiple investigators from across the UK has been published in the journal Lancet Oncology. The study titled “COVID-19 prevalence and mortality in patients with cancer and the effect of primary tumour subtype and patient demographics: a prospective cohort study” indicated that cancer patients with different tumours have differing SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and COVID-19 phenotypes, with increased SARS-CoV-2 cases and severity in patients with haematological cancers, suggesting a possible increased viral vulnerability in these patients. Individualised risk tables for cancer patients, taking into account age/sex and tumour subtype, have been generated. They will be useful for cancer teams to have a more informed risk-benefit discussion to explain COVID-19 risk and to enable an evidenced approach to national social isolation policies. The study represents the work of cancer teams across the UK, including Edinburgh Cancer Centre on behalf of the South-East Scotland Cancer Network (SCAN), who have been reporting SARS-CoV-2 in patients with cancer to the UKCCMP database.  Karin contributed to the design of the study and is part of the UKCCMP Project Management Group. She was also involved in data collection as part of a team at Edinburgh Cancer Centre.

Related Links:

Article in Lancet Oncology: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(20)30442-3/fulltext

UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project: https://ukcoronaviruscancermonitoring.com/

Coronavirus (Covid-19) and cancer information from CRUK: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/coronavirus-and-cancer

Steven Pollard group website: https://www.ed.ac.uk/cancer-centre/research/s-pollard-group

Wendy Bickmore group website: https://www.ed.ac.uk/mrc-human-genetics-unit/research/bickmore-group

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