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COVID-19 Vaccines Offer Protection to Multiple Myeloma Patients, But Less Than Other Cancer Survivors

For patients with multiple myeloma of blood cancer, the COVID-19 vaccination offers some protection against coronavirus infection, but to a much lower degree than the general population of cancer survivors, according to a news report. study conducted by investigators from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The conclusions, which will be presented at the 63e The annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), follows recent research published in the journal JAMA Oncology. In this study, which involved nearly 60,000 patients at Veterans Administration hospitals across the country, researchers found that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in cancer patients, especially in cancer patients. those who are not currently receiving systemic therapy or hormone therapy.

For the ASH study, researchers assessed whether these benefits applied specifically to patients with multiple myeloma and people with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), an asymptomatic condition that puts individuals at an increased risk of developing myeloma.

Researchers identified 818 myeloma patients who had been vaccinated against COVID-19 and an equal number who had not and followed up if they developed the disease. They did the same for 4,798 vaccinated people and 4,798 unvaccinated people with MGUS. For comparison, they tracked COVID infection rates in nearly 60,000 vaccinated and unvaccinated cancer survivors who had not been treated with systemic cancer treatment (such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy). during the previous six months.

They found that with a follow-up of between 14 and 287 days, the estimated efficacy of the vaccine was 5.6% after two doses in patients with myeloma and 27.2% in people with MGUS, compared with 85% in overall untreated cancer survivors. (Efficacy is a measure of the vaccine’s ability to prevent infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.) The researchers also found that the vaccine’s efficacy began to decline approximately six months after patients received their second dose.

The findings underscore the need for patients with multiple myeloma “to be especially careful – to take social distancing seriously and to use masking – even if they have been vaccinated,” the lead author said. Study Nikhil Munshi, MD, director of basic and correlative sciences at Dana-Farber’s Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center.

The decrease in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in myeloma patients is likely due to the disease itself and its treatment, both of which can weaken patients’ immune systems, the researchers say. Because the vaccine prompts the immune system to defend itself against the coronavirus, a decline in immune function may decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The evidence from the study supports this idea.

We found that compared to patients who had not been treated in the past six months, the rate of onset infections was 2.6%. For patients who have been treated in the past 90 days, this number goes up to 4-5%. And in patients treated with daratumumab [an immunotherapy agent], the number was 9%. “

Nikhil Munshi, MD, Director of Basic and Correlative Sciences, Dana-Farber’s Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center

the JAMA Oncology The study that formed the basis for the ASH study used data from nearly 60,000 veterans hospital patients who received systemic cancer treatment between August 2010 and May 2021.

The researchers compared the rates of coronavirus infection in 29,152 patients who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and an identical number of patients who had been. They found that 14 days after the administration of the second dose of the vaccine, its effectiveness was 85% in patients who had not received systemic treatment at least six months before vaccination and 76% in those receiving a hormonal treatment.

Researchers will present the results of this study in session 652, Abstract 400, on Sunday, December 12 at 10:15 a.m. EST.


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute