Publication Date



Cancer Medicine


INTRODUCTION: Survivors of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia often develop persistent respiratory symptom and interstitial lung abnormalities (ILAs) after infection. Risk factors for ILA development and duration of ILA persistence after SARS-CoV-2 infection are not well described in immunocompromised hosts, such as cancer patients.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 95 patients at a major cancer center and 45 patients at a tertiary referral center. We collected clinical and radiographic data during the index hospitalization for COVID-19 pneumonia and measured pneumonia severity using a semi-quantitative radiographic score, the Radiologic Severity Index (RSI). Patients were evaluated in post-COVID-19 clinics at 3 and 6 months after discharge and underwent comprehensive pulmonary evaluations (symptom assessment, chest computed tomography, pulmonary function tests, 6-min walk test). The association of clinical and radiological factors with ILAs at 3 and 6 months post-discharge was measured using univariable and multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS: Sixty-six (70%) patients of cancer cohort had ILAs at 3 months, of whom 39 had persistent respiratory symptoms. Twenty-four (26%) patients had persistent ILA at 6 months after hospital discharge. In adjusted models, higher peak RSI at admission was associated with ILAs at 3 (OR 1.5 per 5-point increase, 95% CI 1.1-1.9) and 6 months (OR 1.3 per 5-point increase, 95% CI 1.1-1.6) post-discharge. Fibrotic ILAs (reticulation, traction bronchiectasis, and architectural distortion) were more common at 6 months post-discharge.

CONCLUSIONS: Post-COVID-19 ILAs are common in cancer patients 3 months after hospital discharge, and peak RSI and older age are strong predictors of persistent ILAs.


COVID-19, fibrosis, interstitial lung disease, pneumonia, post-infectious pulmonary complication



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