ASCO Creates COVID-19 Cancer Registry

April 14, 2020
Brielle Benyon

The relationship between the two maladies still remains vastly unknown.

The American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) launched a registry to better help clinicians and researchers understand the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on patients with cancer. The ASCO Survey on COVID-19 in Oncology Registry (ASCO Registry) will track patterns regarding symptoms and severity of the virus in patients with cancer, as well as impacts to cancer care and patient outcomes.

“As this unprecedented public health crisis continues, we’re seeing that certain populations — including individuals with cancer – are more likely to be vulnerable to the worst outcomes from COVID-19,” said ASCO President Howard “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, in a statement.

While there is a small study from China, pointing toward a potential trend toward worse COVID-19 outcomes for patients with cancer, the relationship between the two maladies still remains vastly unknown.

“The cancer care community needs data on how the virus is impacting our patients, their cancer treatment, and outcomes to inform current cancer care and decision-making for future disease outbreaks. We encourage all oncology practices to participate so that we can learn from every patient, in every practice, in every state across the country,” Burris said.

The ASCO Registry will include both point-in-time data as well as longitudinal data on how COVID-19 impacts care and outcomes through 2021. After they receive and analyze sufficient data, ASCO will provide updates — and peer-reviewed manuscripts – to the cancer community and public on findings, including:

  • Characteristics of patients with cancer most impacted by COVID-19
  • Estimates of disease severity
  • Treatment modifications or delays
  • Implementation of telemedicine in the cancer treatment setting
  • Clinical outcomes among patients related to both COVID-19 and cancer

Oncology practices who participate in the registry will complete baseline data for patients with cancer and COVID-19 and then follow-up information on status, treatment, and outcomes. While the patients involved will stay anonymous, data such as zip code, date of birth, gender, race, ethnicity, cancer type, and comorbidities will be included.

All United States-based practices are able to participate in the online registry. Participating institutions will receive financial support to cover research data-entry costs, supported by Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation. As of April 13, 11 practices have already expressed interest in participating.

ASCO’s is one of multiple efforts to improve the understanding of cancer and COVID-19. Others include the COVID-19 Cancer Consortium, and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Research Collaborative COVID-19 Registry for Hematologic Malignancy.

“ASCO will continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with these and other organizations as the cancer community comes together to address this unprecedented crisis,” the statement says.

“By looking at longitudinal data on patients, we’ll be able to learn more about the longer-term of effects of COVID-19 and its impact on cancer care,” Burris said. “We hope to learn if the virus resulted in specific complications for patients, delayed patients’ ability to get a specific type of treatment, or if certain approaches resulted in better outcomes for patients.”