Anti-cancer therapy and clinical trial considerations for gynecologic oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis

Bhavana Pothuri, Angeles Alvarez Secord, Deborah K. Armstrong, John Chan, Amanda N. Fader, Warner Huh, Joshua Kesterson, Joyce F. Liu, Kathleen Moore, Shannon N. Westin, R. Wendel Naumann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has consumed considerable resources and has impacted the delivery of cancer care. Patients with cancer may have factors which place them at high risk for COVID 19 morbidity or mortality. Highly immunosuppressive chemotherapy regimens and possible exposure to COVID-19 during treatment may put patients at additional risk. The Society of Gynecologic Oncology convened an expert panel to address recommendations for best practices during this crisis to minimize risk to patients from deviations in cancer care and from COVID-19 morbidity. Methods: An expert panel convened to develop initial consensus guidelines regarding anti-neoplastic therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic with respect to gynecologic cancer care and clinical trials. Results: COVID-19 poses special risks to patients who are older, have medical co-morbidities, and cancer. In addition, this pandemic will likely strain resources, making delivery of cancer care or conduct of clinical trials unpredictable. Recommendations are to limit visits and contact with health care facilities by using telemedicine when appropriate, and choosing regimens which require less frequent visits and which are less immunosuppressive. Deviations will occur in clinical trials as a result of limited resources, and it is important to understand regulatory obligations to trial sponsors as well as to the IRB to ensure that clinical trial and patient safety oversight are maintained. Conclusions: The ongoing crisis will strain resources needed to deliver cancer care. When alterations to the delivery of care are mandated, efforts should be taken to minimize risks and maximize safety while approximating standard practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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