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IOR study reveals how breast cancer therapy may be effective against COVID-19

Dr. Arianna Calcinotto, group leader at the IOR and first author of the study
Dr. Arianna Calcinotto, group leader at the IOR and first author of the study

Institutional Communication Service

The so-called "Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators" (SERMs) treatments used in breast cancer therapy may be effective against COVID-19. This is what emerges from a study conducted by the Istitute of Oncology Research (IOR, affiliated to USI) based on data obtained from the Veneto Tumor Registry (Italy) has observed a lower risk of developing the coronavirus disease for women affected by hormonal-driven cancers subjected to this type of therapy.  

The study, performed in collaboration with the VIMM-University of Padova, the Veneto Tumor Registry and led by Dr Arianna Calcinotto, group leader at IOR, investigates a suggested off-target effect of SERMs during SARS-CoV-2 infection, identifying a possible clinical use for this class of drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The study published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology included 51,060 women tested for COVID-19 infection in the Veneto Region during the first epidemic wave. 

According to Dr. Calcinotto, "patients affected by hormonal-driven cancers receiving SERMs appear to be partially protected from COVID-19 infections. The results obtained - although they require to be further validated in a larger cohort of patients and molecular studies are need to shed light on the mechanism of action - identify a new and possible way to prevent or mitigate the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 infection".

The full study Clinical outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection in breast and ovarian cancer patients underwent anti-estrogenic therapy is available online at the website of Annals of Oncology here >> www.annalsofoncology.org/article/S0923-7534(21)00097-1/fulltext