COVID-19 infection in pediatric patients treated for cancer

Lital Oz-Alcalay, Sarah Elitzur, Nofar Amitai, Helen Toledano, Shlomit Barzilai-Birenboim, Gali Avrahami, Gil Gilad, Yoav Vardi, Michal Dvori, Shai Izraeli, Gilat Livni, Oded Gilad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has caused a global pandemic affecting millions of people around the world. Risk factors for critical disease in adults are advanced age and underlying medical comorbidities, including cancer. Data are sparse on the effect of COVID-19 infection on pediatric patients with cancer during their active antineoplastic therapy. The optimal management of antineoplastic treatment during COVID-19 infection in this unique population is controversial. Aim: To describe the severity and clinical course of COVID-19 infection in pediatric patients with cancer during active antineoplastic treatment and to study their course of treatment. Methods: Clinical and laboratory data were collected from medical files of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), who received active antineoplastic treatment between March 2020 and May 2021 in a large tertiary pediatric medical center. Results: Eighteen patients with diverse pediatric cancers are described. They were infected with COVID-19 at different stages of their antineoplastic treatment regimen. Eight had an asymptomatic COVID-19 infection, nine had mild symptoms, and one had severe disease. All of them recovered from COVID-19 infection. Two patients experienced delays in their antineoplastic treatment; none of the other patients had delays or interruptions, including patients who were symptomatic for COVID-19. Conclusion: In pediatric patients with cancer who test positive for COVID-19, yet are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, the continuance of antineoplastic therapy may be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-454
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


FundersFunder number
Hayim Association
Israel Children’s Cancer Foundation
National Cancer Institute


    • Antineoplastic therapy
    • COVID-19
    • Cancer
    • Pediatric patients


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