For adults with invasive cancer and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, treatment with hydroxychloroquine in combination with any other drug is associated with increased mortality, researchers in a study published online  in Cancer Discovery have observed.

Donna R. Rivera, Pharm.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues examined the association between COVID-19 treatments and 30-day all-cause mortality among 2,186 U.S. adults with invasive cancer and laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The researchers found that mortality was increased for the use of hydroxychloroquine with any other drug compared with any COVID-19 treatment other than hydroxychloroquine or untreated controls; the association was not seen for hydroxychloroquine alone.

Numerically reduced mortality was seen with remdesivir compared with untreated controls, although the association did not reach statistical significance. High-dose corticosteroids alone were numerically associated with increased 30-day all-cause mortality, although the association was not significant. High-dose corticosteroids plus any other therapy correlated with significantly increased mortality.

Baseline COVID-19 disease severity was the major factor associated with receipt of any drug.

“We can be much more definitive in stating the risk and ineffectiveness of hydroxychloroquine with this enhanced analysis,” a co-author said in a statement.

“This higher mortality association is despite what appears to be rational decision making, such as less utilization of this drug in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities.”


REFERENCE: Rivera et al: Utilization of COVID-19 treatments and clinical outcomes among patients with cancer: A COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) cohort study;