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Forster, Marie; Wuerstlein, Rachel; Koenig, Alexander; Stefan, Alexandra; Wiegershausen, Elisa; Batz, Falk; Trillsch, Fabian; Mahner, Sven; Harbeck, Nadia; Chelariu-Raicu, Anca (2023): Health-related quality of life and patient-centred outcomes with COVID-19 vaccination in patients with breast cancer and gynaecological malignancies. Frontiers in Oncology, 13: 1217805. ISSN 2234-943X

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Safety and tolerability of COVID-19 vaccines were demonstrated by several clinical trials which led to the first FDA/EMA approvals in 2021. Because of mass immunizations, most social restrictions were waived with effects on quality of life. Therefore, our a-priori hypothesis was that COVID-19 vaccination impacted the health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in patients with breast and gynecological cancer.

From March 15 th until August 11 th , 2022, fully vaccinated patients with breast and gynecological cancer treated in the oncological outpatient clinics of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, LMU University Hospital, Munich, Germany filled out a vaccine related QoL survey. Patients were asked about demographics (age, comorbidities), clinical parameters related to previous COVID-19 infections, and HR-QoL related parameters (living situation, responsibilities in everyday life). Subsequently, a questionnaire with 12 items was designed using a 5-point Likert scale (0 – strongly disagree/4 – strongly agree), covering the aspects health and therapy, social environment, participation in everyday life and overall assessment.

By August 11 th , 2022, 108 out of 114 (94.7%) patients had received at least three doses of COVID-19 vaccine and six patients at least two doses. More than half of the surveyed patients were >55y (52.6%; mean: 55.1y, range 29-86y). Patients with breast cancer (n= 83) had early (59.0%) or metastatic cancer (41.0%); gynecological cancers (n=31) also included metastatic (54.8%) and non-metastatic cancer (45.2%). 83.3% of the patients stated that COVID-19 vaccination had a positive impact on their HR-QoL. Furthermore, 29 patients (25.4%) had undergone a COVID-19 infection. These patients reported self-limiting symptoms for a median duration of 5.9 days and no hospital admissions were registered.

Our study demonstrates that vaccination against COVID-19 was positively associated with HR-QoL in patients with breast and gynecological cancer. Furthermore, vaccinated patients who underwent COVID-19 disease experienced only self-limiting symptoms.

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