Clinical characteristics and mortality of patients with hematologic malignancies and COVID-19: a systematic review

J. S. Kim, K. H. Lee, G. E. Kim, S. Kim, J. W. Yang, H. Li, S. H. Hong, R. A. Ghayda, A. Kronbichler, A. KOYANAGi, L. Jacob, J. I. Shin, L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Hematologic cancer patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) tend to have a more serious disease course than observed in the general population. Herein, we comprehensively reviewed existing literature and analyzed clinical characteristics and mortality of patients with hematologic malignancies and COVID-19. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Through searching PubMed until June 03, 2020, we identified 16 relevant case studies (33 cases) from a total of 45 studies that have reported on patients with COVID-19 and hematologic malignancies. We investigated the clinical and laboratory characteristics including type of hematologic malignancies, initial symptoms, laboratory findings, and clinical outcomes. Then, we compared those characteristics and outcomes of patients with hematologic malignancies and COVID-19 to the general population infected with COVID-19. RESULTS: The median age was 66-year-old. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia was the most common type of hematologic malignancy (39.4%). Fever was the most common symptom (75.9%). Most patients had normal leukocyte counts (55.6%), lymphocytosis (45.4%), and normal platelet counts (68.8%). In comparison to patients with COVID-19 without underlying hematologic malignancies, dyspnea was more prevalent (45.0 vs. 24.9%, p=0.025). Leukocytosis (38.9 vs. 9.8%, p=0.001), lymphocytosis (45.4 vs. 8.2%, p=0.001), and thrombocytopenia (31.3 vs. 11.4%, p=0.036) were significantly more prevalent and lymphopenia (18.2 vs. 57.4%, p=0.012) less prevalent in patients with hematologic malignancies. There were no clinical and laboratory characteristics predicting mortality in patients with hematologic malignancies. Mortality was much higher in patients with hematologic malignancies compared to those without this condition (40.0 vs. 3.6%, p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Co-occurrence of hematologic malignancies and COVID-19 is rare. However, due to the high mortality rate from COVID-19 in this vulnerable population, further investigation on tailored treatment and management is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11926-11933
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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