The Care of the Leukemic Patients in Times of SARS-CoV-2

Nabin Raj Karki, Thuy Le, Jorge Cortes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and its associated disease, coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), has significantly derailed cancer care. Patients with leukemia are more likely to have severe infection and increased rates of mortality. There is paucity of information on how to modify care of leukemia patients in view of the COVID-19 risks and imposed restrictions. We review the available literature on the impact of COVID-19 on different types of leukemia patients and suggest general as well as disease-specific recommendations on care based on available evidence. Recent Findings: The COVID-19 infection impacts leukemia subtypes in variable ways and the standard treatments for leukemia have similarly, varying effects on the course of COVID-19 infection. Useful treatment strategies include deferring treatment when possible, use of less intensive regimens, outpatient targeted oral agents requiring minimal monitoring, and prioritization of curative or life-prolonging strategies. Reducing health care encounters, rational transfusion standards, just resource allocation, and pre-emptive advance care planning will serve the interests of leukemia patients. Summary: Ad hoc modifications based on expert opinions and extrapolations of previous well-designed studies are the way forward to navigate the crisis. This should be supplanted with more rigorous prospective evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114
JournalCurrent Oncology Reports
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Leukemia
  • Pandemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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