Rapid Review Quiz: Unusual Vaccine News

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD


February 13, 2023

According to a recent study, among patients with an advanced, recurrent metastatic stage of nasopharyngeal cancer, patients who received the SinoVac COVID-19 vaccine had higher objective response rates and disease control rates after anti–PD-1 therapy and similar rates of severe immune-related adverse events. The researchers concluded that "the efficacy of combination of anti–PD-1 treatment and chemotherapy was significantly improved for vaccinated nasopharyngeal cancer patients."

The median age of patients was 45 years, and they were mostly men. Patients had a recurrent metastatic stage of cancer and were receiving concomitant anti–PD-1 therapy and chemotherapy. About one quarter of patients (n = 373) received the SinoVac COVID-19 vaccine (the remaining 75.7% of participants remained unvaccinated); the experimental group started anti–PD-1 therapy 24-154 days (a median of 105 days) after vaccination.

During the study period, 140 patients (9%) achieved complete remission, 503 (32.7%) had partial remission, 526 (34%) achieved stable disease, and 337 (22%) had progressive disease. Compared with the unvaccinated subgroup, the objective response rate of vaccinated patients was significantly higher (59.0% vs 38.8%), as was the disease control rate (80.2% vs 72.5%) after anti–PD-1 treatment.

Although they were more likely to experience mild immune-related adverse events (73.6% vs 61.1%; P < .001), vaccinated patients were not more likely to experience severe immune-related adverse events. A propensity score analysis produced similar results.

Learn more about nasopharyngeal cancer.


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