CLL-specific scientific studies & literature related to COVID-19

In this section you will find a compilation of scientific studies and articles from the literature on COVID-19 relevant to CLL patients.

If you know about any current or published study on CLL and COVID-19, please let us know by sending us an email.

Journal Club Podcast in Oncology – Special Considerations in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Covid-19

Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia are typically older, which also makes them more vulnerable to Covid-19. In this Journal Club podcast our faculty look at treatment of CLL patients with Covid-19, specifically BTK-inhibitors and monoclonal anti-CD20 antibodies. John Allan MD, Adam Kittai MD

Podcast 31:42 mins

To access the podcast, please click here!

COVID-19: Implications for Patients With CLL

Keep abreast of ongoing developments in providing optimal care for patients with CLL during COVID-19 and evolving research into countering COVID-19–associated inflammatory cytokine production! Get expert perspectives on emerging data with focused commentaries, an FAQ module, and a “living” slideset regularly updated to incorporate the most important clinical findings on CLL and COVID-19.

Jacqueline Barrientos, MD, MS / Brian Koffman, MDCM (retired), MS Ed / Nicole Lamanna, MD / John Pagel, MD, PhD / Jeff P. Sharman, MD / Jacob D. Soumerai, MD

To access the many interesting materials, please click here!

8 February, 2021

Acute Immune Signatures and Their Legacies in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 Infected Cancer Patients

Sultan Abdul-Jawad, Luca Baù, Thanussuyah Alaguthurai, Adrian C. Hayday, Piers E.M. Patten, Sheeba Irshad

Summary: Given the immune system’s importance for cancer surveillance and treatment, we have investigated how it may be affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection of cancer patients. Across some heterogeneity in tumor type, stage, and treatment, virus-exposed solid cancer patients display a dominant impact of SARS-CoV-2, apparent from the resemblance of their immune signatures to those for COVID-19+ non-cancer patients. This is not the case for hematological malignancies, with virus-exposed patients collectively displaying heterogeneous humoral responses, an exhausted T cell phenotype and a high prevalence of prolonged virus shedding. Furthermore, while recovered solid cancer patients’ immunophenotypes resemble those of non-virus-exposed cancer patients, recovered hematological cancer patients display distinct, lingering immunological legacies. Thus, while solid cancer patients, including those with advanced disease, seem no more at risk of SARS-CoV-2-associated immune dysregulation than the general population, hematological cancer patients show complex immunological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 exposure that might usefully inform their care.

Click here to access the full article. DOI:


14 January 2021

Vaccinations in CLL: implications for COVID-19

Article published in “Blood” on variables to consider when studying the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine in patients with CLL. IVIG, intravenous immunoglobulin.

Mazyar Shadman, Chaitra Ujjani

In this issue of Blood, Pleyer and colleagues report results from 2 studies assessing differences in the humoral response to 2 different vaccines in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) on observation or receiving a Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor (BTKi).1  Their findings have immediate clinical implications and call for research preparedness as we eagerly anticipate access to vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the near future.

Please access the full article here.

14 January 2021

UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project (UKCCMP), which covered 61 UK centres, suggest that people with blood cancer are overrepresented in the group of people with cancer who tested positive for the virus – meaning they may be more likely to catch COVID-19 than people with other cancer types.

Multiple studies on the effects of Covid on patients with cancer.

The Lancet Oncology: COVID-19 prevalence and mortality in patients with cancer and the effect of primary tumour subtype and patient demographics: a prospective cohort study – 1 October 2020

Cancer Cell: Acute immune signatures and their legacies in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infected cancer patients – 4 January 2021

9 November 2020

Senior author Dr Vincent Munster was contacted in April by study co-author Francis Riedo, an infectious diseases expert, about a patient in Kirkland, Washington, who had had several positive PCR tests over a number of weeks.

An immunocompromised leukaemia patient was infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus for at least 105 days, and was infectious up to 70 days after first testing positive for the virus, while remaining asymptomatic the entire time, US doctors have reported.

The case underlines the importance of immune system reactions to the virus in causing severe illness, the researchers suggest. The weakened immune system led to the patient being infected for a long period without symptoms, they report.

Please access the full article here.

First published: 3 Sept 2020

When CLL meets COVID-19

In this issue of Blood, Mato et al report an international, multicenter analysis of 198 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and symptomatic COVID-19.1  In this analysis, COVID-19 appears to be more severe in CLL patients than in the general population and, although risk factors are the same as for the general COVID-19 population, the outcome of patients needing admission is poor, with a case fatality rate of 37%. The Mato et al paper is particularly compelling as reports of COVID-19 in specific diseases are needed, particularly in cancer where COVID-19 adds to the physical and emotional distress these patients already suffer. Also, clinicians need guidance on how to advise and manage these patients.

Please access the full article here.

27 August 2020

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody response in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Article published in “Leukemia” on Antibody response of CLL patients to COVID-19 and implications of this for response to vaccines.

Lindsey E. Roeker,corresponding author1 David A. Knorr,1 Melissa S. Pessin,2 Lakshmi V. Ramanathan,2 Meghan C. Thompson,1 Lori A. Leslie,3 Andrew D. Zelenetz,4 and Anthony R. Mato

Please access the full article here.

24 August 2020

COVID-19 prevalence and mortality in patients with cancer and the effect of primary tumour subtype and patient demographics: a prospective cohort study

Background: Patients with cancer are purported to have poor COVID-19 outcomes. However, cancer is a heterogeneous group of diseases, encompassing a spectrum of tumour subtypes. The aim of this study was to investigate COVID-19 risk according to tumour subtype and patient demographics in patients with cancer in the UK.

Lennard Y W Lee (DPhil), Prof Jean-Baptiste Cazier (PhD), Thomas Starkey (MSci), Sarah E W Briggs (MRCP), Roland Arnold (PhD), Vartika Bisht (MSc) et al.
Please access the full article here.
First published: 13 August 2020

Clinical characteristics and risk factors associated with COVID-19 severity in patients with haematological malignancies in Italy: a retrospective, multicentre, cohort study

Prof Francesco Passamonti, MD / Chiara Cattaneo, MD /Prof Luca Arcaini, MD /Riccardo Bruna, MD /Prof Michele Cavo, MD / Francesco Merli, MD et al.

Background: Several small studies on patients with COVID-19 and haematological malignancies are available showing a high mortality in this population. The Italian Hematology Alliance on COVID-19 aimed to collect data from adult patients with haematological malignancies who required hospitalisation for COVID-19.

Interpretation: This study adds to the evidence that patients with haematological malignancies have worse outcomes than both the general population with COVID-19 and patients with haematological malignancies without COVID-19. The high mortality among patients with haematological malignancies hospitalised with COVID-19 highlights the need for aggressive infection prevention strategies, at least until effective vaccination or treatment strategies are available.

Please access the full article here. DOI:

First published: 20 July 2020

Outcomes of COVID-19 in Patients with CLL: A Multicenter, International Experience

Clinical Trials & Observations

Anthony R. Mato, Lindsey Elizabeth Roeker, Nicole Lamanna, John Allan, Lori Ann Leslie, John M. Pagel, Krish Patel, Anders Osterborg, Daniel Wojenski, Manali Kamdar, Scott F Huntington, Matthew S. Davids, Jennifer R. Brown, Darko Antic, Ryan W Jacobs, Inhye E Ahn, Jeffrey J Pu, Krista Isaac, Paul M. Barr, Chaitra Ujjani, Mark Blaine Geyer, Ellin Berman, Andrew D. Zelenetz, Nikita Malakhov, Richard R. Furman, Michael Koropsak, Neil Bailey, Lotta Hansson, Guilherme Fleury Perini, Shuo Ma, Christine E. Ryan, Adrian Wiestner, Craig A Portell, Mazyar Shadman, Elise A. Chong, Danielle M. Brander, Suchitra Sundaram, Amanda N. Seddon, Erlene Seymour, Meera Patel, Nicolas Martinez-Calle, Talha Munir, Renata Walewska, Angus Broom, Harriet Sarah Walter, Dima El-Sharkawi, Helen Parry, Matthew R. Wilson, Piers E Patten, José-Ángel Hernández-Rivas, Fatima Miras, Noemi Fernández Escalada, Paola Ghione, Chadi Nabhan, Sonia Lebowitz, Erica B Bhavsar, Javier López-Jiménez, Daniel Naya, Jose Antonio Garcia-Marco, Sigrid S Skånland, Raul Cordoba, Toby Andrew Eyre


  • Both watch and wait and treated CLL patients when admitted for COVID-19 have high mortality rates.
  • Receiving a BTKi for CLL at COVID-19 diagnosis severe enough to require hospitalization did not influence case fatality rate in this study
This ASH paper is the largest multicentre study to date in CLL!

Please access the full article here.


First published: 9 July 2020

COVID-19 severity and mortality in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a joint study by ERIC, the European Research Initiative on CLL, and CLL Campus

Lydia Scarfò,#1 Thomas Chatzikonstantinou,#2 Gian Matteo Rigolin,#3 Giulia Quaresmini,4 Marina Motta,5 Candida Vitale,6 Jose Antonio Garcia-Marco,7 José Ángel Hernández-Rivas,8 Fatima Mirás,9 Mónica Baile,10 Juan Marquet,11 Carsten U. Niemann,12 Gianluigi Reda,13 Talha Munir,14 Eva Gimeno,15 Monia Marchetti,16 Francesca Maria Quaglia,17 Marzia Varettoni,18 Julio Delgado,19 Sunil Iyengar,20 Ann Janssens,21 Roberto Marasca,22 Angela Ferrari,23 Carolina Cuéllar-García,24 Gilad Itchaki,25 Martin Špaček,26 Lorenzo De Paoli,27 Luca Laurenti,28 Mark-David Levin,29 Enrico Lista,30 Francesca R. Mauro,31 Martin Šimkovič,32 Ellen Van Der Spek,33 Elisabeth Vandenberghe,34 Livio Trentin,35 Ewa Wasik-Szczepanek,36 Rosa Ruchlemer,37 Dominique Bron,38 Maria Rosaria De Paolis,39 Giovanni Del Poeta,40 Lucia Farina,41 Myriam Foglietta,42 Massimo Gentile,43 Yair Herishanu,44 Tobias Herold,45 Ozren Jaksic,46 Arnon P. Kater,47 Sabina Kersting,48 Lara Malerba,49 Lorella Orsucci,50 Viola Maria Popov,51 Paolo Sportoletti,52 Mohamed Yassin,53 Barbara Pocali,54 Gabor Barna,55 Annalisa Chiarenza,56 Gimena dos Santos,57 Eugene Nikitin,58 Martin Andres,59 Maria Dimou,60 Michael Doubek,61 Alicia Enrico,62 Yervand Hakobyan,63 Olga Kalashnikova,64 Macarena Ortiz Pareja,65 Maria Papaioannou,66 Davide Rossi,67,68 Nimish Shah,69 Amit Shrestha,70 Oana Stanca,71 Niki Stavroyianni,2 Vladimir Strugov,72 Constantine Tam,73 Mihnea Zdrenghea,74 Marta Coscia,6 Kostas Stamatopoulos,corresponding author75 Giuseppe Rossi,5 Alessandro Rambaldi,4 Emili’ Montserrat,19 Robin Foà,31 Antonio Cuneo,3 and Paolo Ghiacorresponding author1
Please access the full article here
First published: 18 May 2020

Clinical Outcome of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Haemato‐oncology Patients

James A. AriesJeffrey K. DaviesRebecca L. AuerSimon L. HallamSilvia MontotoMatthew SmithBelen SevillanoVanessa FoggoBela WrenchKrzysztof ZegockiSamir AgrawalRifca Le DieuEdward TrueloveThomas ErblichShamzah ArafJessica OkosunHeather OakerveeJamie D. CavenaghJohn G. GribbenJohn C. Riches

Summary: The initial reports from China show that patients with cancer are over‐represented among individuals who develop severe Covid‐19 after contracting the virus.(4) Patients with haematological malignancies are expected to be at increased risk of adverse outcomes from this viral infection, due being immunosuppressed as a consequence of the underlying cancer, and from the effects of therapy. Our data demonstrate that while patients with haematological cancers have worse outcomes after Covid-19 than the background population, the majority still survive.

This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi:10.1111/bjh.16852

Please access the full article here.

Published in Blood: 17 April 2020

The BTK-inhibitor ibrutinib may protect against pulmonary injury in COVID-19 infected patients

Steven P Treon, Jorge Castillo, Alan P Skarbnik, Jacob D Soumerai, Irene M Ghobrial, Maria Luisa Guerrera, Kirsten E. Meid, Guang Yang

Paper from latest ASH COVID related publications.

Please access the full article here

First published: 7 May 2020

Survival study of hospitalized patients with concurrent Covid‐19 and haematological malignancies

Fernando Martín‐MoroJuan MarquetMiguel PirisBerta M MichaelAdolfo J SáezMagdalena CoronaCarlos JiménezBeatriz AstibiaIrene GarcíaEulalia RodríguezCarlota García‐HozJesús Fortún‐AbetePilar HerreraJavier López‐Jiménez

This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi:10.1111/bjh.16801

Please access the full article here

First published: 30 April 2020

Management of CLL Patients Early in the COVID‐19 Pandemic: An International Survey of CLL Experts

Brian Koffman, Anthony Mato, John C. Byrd, Alexey Danilov, Brad Hedrick, Chaitra Ujjani, Lindsey Roeker, Deborah M. Stephens, Matthew S. Davids, John M. Pagel, Mazyar Shadman

You can access the full article here.

This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1002/ajh.25851.

Published: 30 April 2020

Covid-19 infection in therapy-naive patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia

S. Paneesha,a,b G. Pratt,a,b H. Parry,a,b and P. Mossa,b,⁎

You can access the full article here.

Published: 24 April 2020

COVID-19 in persons with haematological cancers

  • Wenjuan He, Lei Chen, Li Chen, Guolin Yuan, Yun Fang, Wenlan Chen, Di Wu, Bo Liang, Xiaoting Lu, Yanling Ma, Lei Li, Hongxiang Wang, Zhichao Chen, Qiubai Li & Robert Peter Gale

You can access the full article here.