Seroconversion in patients with cancer and oncology healthcare workers infected by SARS-CoV-2

A. Marra*, D. Generali, Daniele Generali, P. Zagami, V. Cervoni, S. Gandini, S. Venturini, Sergio Venturini, S. Morganti, R. Passerini, R. Orecchia, G. Curigliano

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Patients with cancer have high risk for severe complications and poor outcome to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-related disease [coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)]. Almost all subjects with COVID-19 develop anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) within 3 weeks after infection. No data are available on the seroconversion rates of cancer patients and COVID-19. Patients and methods: We conducted a multicenter, observational, prospective study that enrolled (i) patients and oncology health professionals with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by real-time RT-PCR assays on nasal/pharyngeal swab specimens; (ii) patients and oncology health professionals with clinical or radiological suspicious of infection by SARS-CoV-2; and (iii) patients with cancer who are considered at high risk for infection and eligible for active therapy and/or major surgery. All enrolled subjects were tested with the 2019-nCoV IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette, which is a qualitative membrane-based immunoassay for the detection of IgG and IgM antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The aim of the study was to evaluate anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion rate in patients with cancer and oncology health care professionals with confirmed or clinically suspected COVID-19. Results: From 30 March 2020 to 11 May 2020, 166 subjects were enrolled in the study. Among them, cancer patients and health workers were 61 (36.7%) and 105 (63.3%), respectively. Overall, 86 subjects (51.8%) had confirmed SARS- CoV-2 diagnosis by RT-PCR testing on nasopharyngeal swab specimen, and 60 (36.2%) had a clinical suspicious of COVID-19. Median time from symptom onset (for cases not confirmed by RT-PCR) or RT-PCR confirmation to serum antibody test was 17 days (interquartile range 26). In the population with confirmed RT-PCR, 83.8% of cases were IgG positive. No difference in IgG positivity was observed between cancer patients and health workers (87.9% versus 80.5%; P 1⁄4 0.39). Conclusions: Our data indicate that SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG antibody detection do not differ between cancer patients and healthy subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibody response
  • cancer
  • coronavirus
  • healthcare workers
  • seroconversion


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