When Should the Influenza Vaccine Be Administered in Chemotherapy?

HealthDay News—For adults with solid cancer undergoing 3-week cytotoxic chemotherapy cycles, antibody responses are comparable for influenza vaccination on day 1 and 11, according to a study published online in Cancer.

Bhumsuk Keam, MD, PhD, from Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea, and colleagues randomized adult patients with solid cancer undergoing scheduled 3-week cytotoxic chemotherapy to receive the 2014 to 2015 seasonal influenza vaccine on day 1 (43 patients) or 11 (54 patients) during the chemotherapy cycle. Patients were stratified by age and previous influenza vaccination status. The final analysis included 83 patients.

The researchers found that the rates of seroprotection after vaccination were not significantly different for the day 1 versus day 11 groups (strain H1N1, 67% vs 75% [P =.403]; strain H3N2, 77% vs 80% [P =.772]; and strain B, 21% vs 27% [P =.472]). The groups also had similar seroconversion rates and post-vaccination geometric mean titers. The day 11 group more often had vaccine-related adverse events (32% vs 13%; P =.040).

“The antibody responses to influenza vaccination on days 1 and 11 during a 3-week cytotoxic chemotherapy cycle were comparable,” the authors write. “Influenza vaccination can be performed concurrently with cytotoxic chemotherapy or during the cytopenic period.”

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  1. Keam B, Kim M-K, Choi Y, et al. Optimal timing of influenza vaccination during 3-week cytotoxic chemotherapy cycles [published online December 20, 2016]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30468
  2. Dulek DE, Halasa NB. Timing isn’t everything: influenza vaccination in cancer patients [published online December 20, 2016]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30467