Home Covid News and Updates Adults with blood cancer react to booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine rather than first dosage: Study

Adults with blood cancer react to booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine rather than first dosage: Study

by Vaishali Sharma

A recent research found that while fewer than half of patients with hematologic malignancies produced detectable antibodies following the initial COVID-19 immunisation, 56% of “nonresponders” developed antibodies after getting a booster dose.

The study’s findings were published in the journal ‘Cancer.’ For the study, Brown University’s Thomas Ollila, MD, and colleagues examined antibody responses to initial and booster COVID-19 immunisation in 378 patients with hematologic malignancies.

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were found in the blood of 181 patients (48%), following an initial immunisation with one of three US vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccines authorised or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and patients with current cancer or recently treated with an immune cell-depleting medication were the least likely to generate these antibodies.

Responses were found after a booster dose in 48 of 85 (56%) of individuals who did not establish an antibody response following the first immunisation.

By the end of February 2022, 33 patients (8.8%) had developed a COVID-19 infection, with three deaths as a result (0.8 per cent). Although there was no statistically significant association between post-vaccination antibody response and COVID-19 infection, no patient with antibody responses died from COVID-19 infection.

Furthermore, no patient who had tixagevimab with cilgavimab developed a COVID-19 infection.


Tixagevimab and cilgavimab are antiviral antibodies that bind to non-overlapping regions of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, preventing the virus from attaching to and infecting cells. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA approved the combination medication for emergency use to help prevent COVID-19 infection in specific persons.

“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence indicating individuals with hematologic malignancies have a poor response to COVID immunisation.” “Most importantly, we show that many of these individuals who did not respond initially would respond to booster immunisation,” Dr. Ollila stated.

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“Furthermore, when we looked at outcomes, we discovered that fatalities from COVID-19 happened solely in patients with undetectable antibodies, and no one who got preventive antibody treatment was identified with COVID-19. This emphasises the need of monitoring antibody levels in these individuals and scheduling preventive antibody treatment.”

Dr. Ollila advocates for patients to receive booster immunizations and to prioritise preventive antibody treatment where necessary. “This is proof that these steps may save lives,” he added.

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