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To evaluate the impact of testing asymptomatic cancer patients, we analyzed all tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) before and during radiotherapy at a tertiary cancer center throughout the second wave of the pandemic in Germany. Results of all real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for SARS-CoV‑2 performed at our radio-oncology department between 13 October 2020 and 11 March 2021 were included. Clinical data and anamnestic information at the time of testing were documented and examined for (i) the presence of COVID-19-related symptoms and (ii) virus-related anamnesis (high-risk [prior positive test or contact to a positive tested person within the last 14 days] or low-risk [inconspicuous anamnesis within the last 14 days]). A total of 1056 SARS-CoV‑2 tests in 543 patients were analyzed. Of those, 1015 tests were performed in asymptomatic patients and 41 tests in patients with COVID-19-associated symptoms. Two of 940 (0.2%) tests in asymptomatic patients with low-risk anamnesis and three of 75 (4.0%) tests in asymptomatic patients with high-risk anamnesis showed a positive result. For symptomatic patients, SARS-CoV‑2 was detected in three of 36 (8.3%) low-risk and three of five (60.0%) high-risk tests. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study evaluating the correlation between individual risk factors and positivity rates of SARS-CoV‑2 tests in cancer patients. The data demonstrate that clinical and anamnestic assessment is a simple and effective measure to distinctly increase SARS-CoV‑2 test efficiency. This might enable cancer centers to adjust test strategies in asymptomatic patients, especially when test resources are scarce. © 2021. The Author(s).


Christian Cornelius Arnold, Jens von der Grün, Mark Christoph Brekner, Jörg Licher, Emmanouil Fokas, Claus Rödel, Maximilian Fleischmann. Risk stratification by anamnesis increases SARS-CoV-2 test efficiency in cancer patients. Strahlentherapie und Onkologie : Organ der Deutschen Rontgengesellschaft ... [et al]. 2022 Apr;198(4):354-360

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PMID: 34618171

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