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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 505-515

Vaccination practices, efficacy, and safety in adults with cancer: A narrative review

Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Center, Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Kumar Prabhash
Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_156_21

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Patients with cancer are at a high risk of morbidity and mortality from infections, due to immune alterations resulting from the underlying malignancy as well as from therapy directed towards it. We aim to review the existing literature on the burden of vaccine-preventable disease, current practices and the efficacy and safety of these vaccines in patients with cancer. We performed a PubMed search for studies on the efficacy and safety of vaccines in patients with cancer, published in English, on or after 2011 to July 2021. Searches were also made in Embase, MEDLINE, Cochrane CENTRAL, and Google Scholar. Articles for which the full text was not available, non-human studies, and those that were not in English were excluded. We screened 92 studies, and excluded 49 as they were focused on children, articles about therapeutic cancer vaccines, and vaccination in healthy populations or patients with non-malignant conditions. Finally, 43 studies were included. Most studies have shown commonly administered vaccines to be safe, with some diminution of antibody response and efficacy but with overall benefit, including mortality benefit in some cases. The key point in the vaccination of patients with cancer was found to be appropriate timing, which according to most of the existing literature appears to be before the initiation of chemotherapy or in between cycles. There is however a dearth of good literature, opening up a new area for potential research.

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