We, oncologists, would like to take a public position on the currently highly publicized topic of a supposed link between anti-Covid vaccination and an increase in cancer cases. Thus, some have been able to speak of “turbo cancers” (inappropriately because this term is not medical and is never used) that is to say cases of very aggressive or “fulgurating” cancers, occurring just after vaccination. In a very firm way, we formally dispute this information which is not based on any publication, on any French or international epidemiological data, unfortunately relayed without moderation by certain major media or on social networks, and which in no way corresponds to what we , health professionals on the front line of cancer care, have seen to date in our daily lives or in our activity reports during the years 2021 and 2022.
Very early on, all of the international learned societies of oncology came out in favor of the vaccination of cancer patients against Covid-19, who are more at risk of severe forms or death due to immunosuppression induced by the illness or treatment. The very good safety profile of the vaccination was reported as early as April 2021, with serious and unexpected adverse effects exceptionally reported. Initially excluded from the registration programs for mRNA vaccines, cancer patients nevertheless showed poorer immunogenicity, ie a weaker protective immune response than the general population. This quickly made it possible to recommend early booster vaccinations and serological follow-ups adapted to each oncology patient according to the treatments followed, but in no case advice related to any over-toxicity observed in these patients. It should be recalled here that according to estimates, the anti-Covid-19 vaccination has probably saved more than 14 million human lives.
After analysis of the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Database) post-vaccination adverse event reporting database, which is controversial because of its risk of over-reporting, no increased incidence of significant adverse events likely to alert the scientific community in oncology n has been reported8. After analyzing the scientific literature published until the beginning of March 2023, i.e. several thousand scientific articles in the largest international journals, we were only able to identify about ten cases describing the exceptional occurrence of lymphomas, including progression rapid clinical presentation of a rare form of lymphoma following an anti-Covid-19 vaccine booster.
No link between cancer and vaccination
Conversely, exceptional cases of spontaneous regression of lymphomas have also been reported after anti-Covid-19 vaccination. We must be able to remember that a temporal correlation is not equivalent to causality, a fortiori when it comes to absolutely rare events. Without being able to explain these exceptional phenomena to date, it can however be noted that stimulation of the lymphatic system has been more frequently reported, in particular during follow-ups by metabolic imaging by positron emission computed tomography (PET), with cases of hypermetabolic lymphadenopathy spontaneously resolving in a few weeks, thus revealing simple non-cancerous and benign inflammatory ganglionic reactions just testifying to a favorable immune response stimulated by vaccination.
Finally, it should be noted that cases of lymphoma have also been reported exceptionally after other vaccinations such as after an anti-influenza vaccination, again without causality or scientifically substantiated mechanistic explanation. However, no case of rapid progression of solid cancers after anti-Covid-19 vaccination has been reported, contrary to rumors.
In conclusion, to date no warning link has been published between an increased incidence or risk of rapid progression of cancer after anti-Covid-19 vaccination or after another vaccination. We therefore wish once again to reassure our patients.
No, there is no risk of aggravation of the disease or relapse related to the vaccine.
No, vaccination against Covid-19 does not expose you to the risk of developing cancer.
Vaccination against Covid-19 has saved many lives and protects you!
Dr Jérôme BARRIERE, Saint-Jean Polyclinic, Cagnes-sur-Mer
Pr Jean-Emmanuel KURTZ, ICANS, Strasbourg
Pr Jacques ROBERT, Former President of the French Cancer Society, Emeritus Professor of Cancerology, University of Bordeaux
Dr Manuel RODRIGUES, President of the French Cancer Society, Institut Curie, Paris
Dr Véronique SAADA, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Pr Gérard ZALCMAN, Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital, APHP, Paris
Pr Jean-Yves BLAY, General Manager Center Léon Bérard, President UNICANCER, Lyon
Dr Philippe FOLLANA, Center Antoine Lacassagne, Nice
Dr. Ludovic EVESQUE, Center Antoine Lacassagne, Nice
Dr Benjamin HOCH, Azure Cancer Center, Mougins
Dr Rémy LARGILLIER, Azure Cancer Center, Mougins
Pr Pierre FENAUX, Saint Louis Hospital, APHP, Paris
Pr Raphaël ITZYKSON, Saint Louis Hospital, APHP, Paris
Dr. Richard SKAF, Saint-George Clinic, Nice
Dr Olivier CASTELNAU, Arnault Tzanck Institute, Saint Laurent du Var
Pr Anthony GONÇALVES, Paoli Calmette Institute, Marseille
Prof. Christophe MASSARD, Center Eugene Marquis, Rennes
Dr Jean-François BERDAH, Hospital Center of Castelluccio, Ajaccio
Dr Daniel RE, Antibes Hospital Center, Antibes
Dr Benjamin AUBERGER, Regional University Hospital, Brest
Dr Ophélie CASSUTO, Saint-George Clinic, Nice
Dr. Delphine BORCHIELLINI, Center Antoine Lacassagne, Nice
Dr. Patricia PAUTIER, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Pr Thomas CLUZEAU, University Hospital of Nice Archet, Nice
Pr Benoît YOU, Hospices Civils de Lyon and Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, Lyon
Dr Romain NATALE, Saint-Jean Polyclinic, Cagnes-sur-Mer
Pr Frédéric PEYRADE, Center Antoine Lacassagne, Nice
Pr Jean-Marc CLASSE, West Institute of Cancer, Saint Herblain
Prof. Fabrice LECURU, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Pr Pierre SAINTIGNY, University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Center Léon Bérard, Lyon
Dr Adrien ROUSSEAU, AP-HP, Paris
Dr Annick HAREL-BELLAN, Retired Research Director of the CNRS, Paris
Dr. Bernard ASSELAIN, ARCAGY GINECO, Paris
Prof. Daniel LOUVARD, Curie Institute, Paris
Dr. Bruno LIOURE, ICANS, Strasbourg
Dr. Thibault de la MOTTE ROUGE, Center Eugene Marquis, Rennes.
Dr Mickaël BURGY, ICANS, Strasbourg
Dr Frédéric DELOM, Director of the “Reprogramming of tumor activity and associated microenvironment” team – Inserm U1312, University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux
Pr Jacques-Olivier BAY, CHU Clermont-Ferrand
Dr Patricia PAUTIER, Gustave-Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Dr Sophie COTTERET, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Dr Suzette DELALOGE, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Dr Catherine GENESTIE, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Dr. Thomas GRINDA, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Pr Jean-Jacques KILADJIAN, Saint-Louis Hospital, Paris
Dr Natacha JOYON, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif
Dr Karinne PRULHIERE-CORVIOLE, Intergroup of Cancerology and Onco-radiotherapy of the North-East, Reims
Dr Michel FABBRO, Montpellier Cancer Institute, Montpellier
Dr Julie PANNEQUIN, CNRS, Institute of Functional Genomics, Montpellier
Dr Marie-Pierre LEDOUX, Hematologist, ICANS, Strasbourg
Dr Antoine ANGELERGUES, Deaconesses Paris Hospital Group
Dr Lauriane EBERST ICANS, Strasbourg
Pr Etienne GIROUX LEPRIEUR, APHP-Ambroise Paré Hospital, Boulogne-Billancourt
The editors and the signatories declare no conflict of interest in connection with the anti-COVID 19 vaccination.