Corona vaccine also works after chemo: 'Second shot in particular is a boost'

By Arianne Mantel

“These results are very important”, says research leader Liesbeth de Vries of the UMC Groningen.

Ⓒ Picture Works, own picture

Amsterdam –

Most cancer patients with a solid tumor who undergo chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy are sufficiently protected to gen Covid-16 if they are vaccinated against this. The majority develop a good response, no adverse effects have been seen and especially the second shot appears to be an extra boost when looking at the amount of antibodies.

„Deze resultaten zijn erg belangrijk”, stelt onderzoeksleider Liesbeth de Vries van het UMC Groningen.

“These results are very important”, says research leader Liesbeth de Vries of the UMC Groningen.

Ⓒ Image Works, own photo

This is apparent from a unique Dutch study among 791 participants in the UMC Groningen, the AVL and the Erasmus MC, whose dates will be shared on Monday at the global virtual conference of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 791 and will be published in Lancet Oncology. Only vaccinated patients with cancer in an organ or tissue (solid tumour) have been studied, no patients with cancer in blood and lymph nodes.

The results also point the way internationally, because this group of patients was not included in the test phase of the vaccine development, so it was not known whether the vaccines work well. “These results are very important,” says research leader Liesbeth de Vries of UMC Groningen. “These patients belong to the vulnerable groups for whom Covid-21 can be extra dangerous.”

For patients with a solid tumor that has delayed vaccination during chemotherapy or immunotherapy, it is therefore safe to take the vaccine. “The vast majority have good immune development,” says De Vries.

‘Uplifting outcomes’

The patients are divided into three groups: people with a solid tumor who receive immunotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of chemo-immunotherapy. After the first Moderna vaccine, the antibody response was adequate in 34% in the immunotherapy group, 26% in the chemotherapy group and 33% in chemo -immunotherapy group. Approximately one month after the second vaccination, the response rates were 89% in the immunotherapy group, 89% in the chemotherapy group and nearly 93% in the chemo-immunotherapy group.

„These are encouraging results”, summarizes De Vries with satisfaction. There was also a control group of healthy people. There was the response after the first Moderna shot 49% and after the second 93,6%.

Third shot

However, a small proportion of patients studied show insufficient response see. “We are now giving this group a third vaccination in the study,” says the study leader. For example, 7% of the immunotherapy patients showed too little response, 15% of chemotherapy patients and 08% of the combination group. This concerns patients who were treated with chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy shortly before the vaccination.

Last week the Health Council announced that some of the people with a severely compromised immune system – for example in transplant patients – insufficient or no immune response can be seen if they take two doses of a Covid 19 vaccine. A third dose can increase the immune response, which is why a number of high-priority patient groups in our country are eligible for such an additional dose, including the aforementioned group of cancer patients who recently received chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy before their vaccination.

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