Lung Cancer Study Group

TERAVOLT reveal that patients with malignant thoracic tumors have a high risk of mortality from COVID 19

The Thoracic Cancers International COVID 19 Collaboration, also known as TERAVOLT, is an international consortium that was created to understand the impact of COVID-19 on patients with thoracic malignancies. Made up of medical experts from leading institutions around the world, the organization aims to identify and understand risk factors associated with morbidity and mortality in patients with thoracic malignancies who are infected with COVID-19 as well as determine therapies that may impact patient survival. TERAVOLT also provides global medical community with guidance on the management of patients with thoracic malignancies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform was created in record time, in an attempt to respond to the needs created by the extraordinary moment we are experiencing. The idea was born on March 15, 2020, and the first case report form was submitted on March 18. The project quickly brought together the support of the main scientific societies, in particular the IASLC, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP), and the European Respiratory Society (ERS).

The most recent data were recently released at ESMO 2020, by Dr Javier Baena Espinar, oncologist at Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid (Spain). Data on a total of 1012 patients from 20 countries were presented. About 60% of the patients are over 65 years old, the majority of whom are smokers or ex-smokers (78%), and in 83% the cases coexisted with other comorbidities.

This population had a high risk of hospitalization. Of the total number of patients, 72% were hospitalized. However, only 12% ended up being admitted to intensive care units and 7% submitted to invasive ventilation. These data suggest less investment in lung cancer patients compared to other studies. Clearly, patients who show benefit from cancer therapy are entitled to attempts at treatment to prolong life in the face of COVID-19, although this may depend on the availability of resources.

One of TERAVOLT’s main conclusions is that patients with malignant thoracic tumors have a high risk of mortality from COVID 19 (32%). Age, smoking history, stage, performance status (ECOG = or> 2) and the need for corticosteroids prior to infection, seem to be determinants of the risk of mortality from COVID 19, with ECOG prior to infection being the most relevant . These data may be useful in predicting the risk of death by COVID 19 in this population, as well as in deciding the best therapeutic options for neoplasia or for concomitant infection, and a normogram has been proposed as a tool for this purpose.

It is important to note that, if on the one hand it is essential to protect this group of patients as much as possible from COVID-19 infection, on the other hand we must balance the benefits of protecting from COVID-19 with the risk of increased cancer mortality.

The TERAVOLT registry will continue to collect data during the current pandemic. Learn more at:


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