Improved cancer treatment response in those with COVID vaccination


In a recent paper which yielded an unexpected result, researchers penned a letter to the editor of the journal Annals of Oncology describing the results (Figure 1).  In this study, medications that stimulate the body’s defenses against the tumor are frequently given to individuals with nasopharyngeal cancer. The study found that when patients received the Chinese vaccine SinoVac instead of being unvaccinated, the cancer medications performed better.

Table 1. Clinical and demographic characteristics of the NPC patient cohort.

Numerous cancer cells can interfere with the immune system’s reaction. They achieve this by activating the PD-1 receptor, which acts as a type of button on immune cells. They successfully disabled these endogenous defense mechanisms in this manner. PD-1 receptors can be blocked using medications. As a result, the immune system can combat the tumor more successfully. The PD-1 receptor is involved in the immunological response that is triggered by the Covid vaccine.

A portion of the 373 afflicted people had received the Chinese Covid vaccination SinoVac. They reacted to anti-PD-1 treatment better than the individuals who were not immunized.

Journal article: Y.J. Hua, Y.J., et al., 2022. Y.L. Potentially improved response of COVID-19 vaccinated nasopharyngeal cancer patients to combination therapy with anti-PD-1 blockade and chemotherapy. Annals of Oncology.

Summary by Stefan Botha

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation