Evidence Review
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2020. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
Artif Intell Cancer. Jun 28, 2020; 1(1): 8-18
Published online Jun 28, 2020. doi: 10.35713/aic.v1.i1.8
Management of cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: A comprehensive review
Ayun K Cassell III, Lydia T Cassell, Abdoul Halim Bague
Ayun K Cassell III, Department of Urology and Andrology, Hopital General de Grand Yoff, Dakar 3270, Senegal
Lydia T Cassell, Department of Public Health, Cuttington University, Graduate School and Professional Studies, Monrovia 10010, Liberia
Abdoul Halim Bague, Unit of Surgical Oncology, Department of General Surgery, Yalgado Ouedraogo Teaching Hospital, Ouagadougou 160, Burkina Faso
Author contributions: All authors have made substantial contributions to conception and design, attainment of data, analysis and interpretation of data; engaged in preparing the article or revising it analytically for essential intellectual content; gave final approval of the version to be published; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflict of interest regarding this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Ayun K Cassell III, MD, MPH, MFSTEd, FICS, Academic Fellow, Lecturer, Senior Researcher, Surgeon, Department of Urology and Andrology, Hopital General de Grand Yoff, Grand Yoff, Dakar 3270, Senegal. ayuncasselliii@gmail.com
Received: May 20, 2020
Peer-review started: May 20, 2020
First decision: June 12, 2020
Revised: June 22, 2020
Accepted: June 28, 2020
Article in press: June 28, 2020
Published online: June 28, 2020

The novel 2019 corona virus disease also called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has caused a global pandemic and more than 2.5 million people have been affected globally with over 100000 deaths. The disease has caused an escalation in hospitalization with growing need for hospital beds and intensive care unit for severe cases. Recent evidence has shown that a significant proportion of cancer patients affected by the corona virus present with severe respiratory pneumonia-like illness with need for subsequent intensive care unit ventilation and higher mortality risk. This susceptibility may be due to the immunosuppressive state of patients with malignancy confounded by chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Many solid tumors (lung cancer, pancreatic cancer) as well as hematological malignancies (leukemias) may require prompt diagnosis and treatment based on the disease aggression and progression. Many centers lack clear guideline on the management of cancer during the pandemic. The objective of this review is to synthesize the available literature and provide recommendations on the management of various soft tissue and hematological malignancies. The review will also assess the management guidelines for hospitalized cancer patients; cancer patients in the outpatient setting as well as available modalities for follow-up.

Keywords: Cancer, Chemotherapy, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Pandemic, Transmission, Radiotherapy

Core tip: Management of cancer patients during the novel 2019 corona virus disease pandemic is challenging. The need of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy places the patients at risk of nosocomial transmission. The myelosuppressive effect of chemotherapy and radiation may increase the morbidity and mortality associated with the coronavirus. Therefore, cancer treatment should be stratified based on the benefits and risk of intervention. Avoiding unnecessary procedures, social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wear could reduce the associated disease burden.