Cardiovascular Vulnerability to COVID-19 in Cancer Survivors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. COVID-19 is caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-Cov-2). Although primarily a respiratory disease, cardiovascular complications of COVID-19 have been increasingly recognized. In addition, higher fatality has been reported in COVID-19 patients with underlying cardiovascular diseases. Cancer survivors have a considerably increased risk for premature cardiovascular diseases, mainly due to cardiotoxic cancer treatments. Therefore, it is foreseeable that cancer survivors will be more vulnerable to cardiovascular complications caused by COVID-19. In this review, three scenarios for increased cardiovascular complications of COVID-19 in cancer patients are proposed. In the first scenario, cardiotoxic cancer treatment and COVID-19 synergize to exacerbate direct myocardial damage. In the second scenario, cardiotoxic cancer treatment leads to a reduced cardiac reserve in cancer survivors, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19 in a “two-hit” model. The third scenario suggests that several shared risk factors may aggravate cardiovascular complications caused by both cancer treatment and COVID-19. Taken together, cancer survivors may be more vulnerable to cardiovascular complications when challenged by the COVID-19, and special cardiovascular care should be given to these patients.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPreprints
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series



  • COVID-19
  • Cancer Survivors
  • Cancer therapies
  • Cardiovascular
  • Coronaviruses
  • Sciences: Comprehensive Works
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2


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