Introduction

Despite extensive studies of the impact of COVID-19 on patients with cancer, there is a dearth of information from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Our study aimed to report pertinent MENA COVID-19 and Cancer Registry (MCCR) findings on patient management and outcomes.

Methods

MCCR was adapted from the American Society of Clinical Oncology COVID-19 Registry to collect data specifically from patients with cancer and SARS-CoV-2 infection from 12 centers in eight countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, and Morocco. The Registry included data on patients and disease characteristics, treatment, and patient outcomes. Logistic regression was used to assess associations with mortality.

Results

Between November 29, 2020, and June 8, 2021, data were captured on 2008 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 from the beginning of the pandemic. Median age was 56 years (16–98), 56.4% were females, and 26% were current or ex-smokers. Breast cancer (28.5%) was the leading diagnosis and 50.5% had metastatic disease. Delays of planned treatment (>14 days) occurred in 80.3% for surgery, 48.8% for radiation therapy, and 32.9% for systemic therapy. Significant reduction in the delays of all three treatment modalities occurred after June 1, 2020. All-cause mortality rates at 30 and 90 days were 17.1% and 23.4%, respectively. All-cause mortality rates at 30 days did not change significantly after June 1, 2020; however, 90-day mortality increased from 33.4% to 42.9% before and after that date (p = 0.015). Multivariable regression analysis showed the following predictors of higher 30- and 90-day mortality: age older than 70 years, having metastatic disease, disease progression, and being off chemotherapy.

Conclusion

Patients with cancer in the MENA region experienced similar risks and outcome of COVID-19 as reported in other populations. Although there were fewer treatment delays after June 1, 2020, 90-day mortality increased, which may be attributed to other risk factors such as disease progression or new patients who presented with more advanced disease.

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Competing Interests

Source of Support: None. Conflict of Interest: None.

This work is published under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.