COVID-19 vaccines in patients with cancer: immunogenicity, efficacy and safety

Annika Fendler, Elisabeth G.E. de Vries, Corine H. GeurtsvanKessel, John B. Haanen, Bernhard Wörmann, Samra Turajlic, Marie von Lilienfeld-Toal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with cancer have a higher risk of severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and associated mortality than the general population. Owing to this increased risk, patients with cancer have been prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination globally, for both primary and booster vaccinations. However, given that these patients were not included in the pivotal clinical trials, considerable uncertainty remains regarding vaccine efficacy, and the extent of humoral and cellular immune responses in these patients, as well as the risks of vaccine-related adverse events. In this Review, we summarize the current knowledge generated in studies conducted since COVID-19 vaccines first became available. We also highlight critical points that might affect vaccine efficacy in patients with cancer in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-401
Number of pages17
JournalNature Reviews Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
Early online date11 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

The authors thank S. Oosting of the University of Groningen for support in data research. The work of V. and J.B.H. is supported within the VOICE study by project grant 10430072010005 ZonMw, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development. The work of M.v.L.-T. is supported by the German Research Foundation within the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 124 FungiNet, DFG project no. 210879364 (project A1) as well as the Deutsche Krebshilfe OncoReVir Registry (no. 70113851). The work of A.F. is supported by funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant no. 892360. The work of S.T. is supported by Cancer Research UK (grant no. C50947/A18176). This work was also supported by the Francis Crick Institute, which receives its core funding from Cancer Research UK (CRUK) (FC001988, FC001218, FC001099, FC001002, FC001078, FC001169 and FC001030), the UK Medical Research Council (FC001988, FC001218, FC001099, FC001002, FC001078, FC001169 and FC001030) and the Wellcome Trust (FC001988, FC001218, FC001099, FC001002, FC001078, FC001169 and FC001030).

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, Springer Nature Limited.


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