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CAPTURE: COVID-19 antiviral response in a pan-tumour immune study

This prospective observational cohort study aims to understand the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in patients with cancer and in healthcare workers (HCWs) who may be exposed to the virus in the course of their work.

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been particularly challenging for the management of patient groups considered to be at higher risk of severe illness, including patients with cancer. Prospective data are urgently needed to understand, quantify and minimise the risks associated with COVID19, whilst maintaining the best possible outcomes for the underlying disease. 

This study aims to understand the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in all patients with cancer, as well as healthcare workers (HCWs) who care for them.

CAPTURE is sponsored by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and funded from a generous grant from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. 

About the project

For patients living with cancer, there is an urgent need to understand the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the early days of the pandemic, patients with cancer, and specifically those receiving active treatment (e.g. chemotherapy, immunotherapy or bone marrow transplant) were identified as “extremely vulnerable” and advised to self-shield (stay home at all times) for at least 12 weeks, which is not a sustainable measure to protect this group in the longer-term. Furthermore, to mitigate the risk of severe infection in these patients, cancer treatment plans were altered, delayed or suspended without a solid evidence base – this is likely to severely effect cancer related outcomes in these patients.

As lockdown measures lift, there are more uncertainties ahead for the oncology community at large – including unknown risks for frequent hospital visits, what the viral transmissions risks are in acute and outpatient departments, and do cancer patients particularly those receiving immune altering or chemotherapy treatments develop immunity against the virus in the same way as those without cancer.

There is an urgent need therefore, to quantify the risk of COVID-19 illness in patients with cancer and to understand what impact anti-cancer treatments have on the immune system’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There is also a need to understand how the pandemic impacts Health Care Workers (HCWs) who may be exposed to the virus in the course of their clinical duties and who are at risk to transmit the virus to vulnerable patients and colleagues in the asymptomatic phase of infection.  

The CAPTURE study is a long-term study. We are establishing large observational cohorts with an intentionally broad inclusion of different tumour types and treatment schedules. In CAPTURE, we will enrol both patients infected and uninfected by the virus, and patients with all types of cancer (blood and solid cancers), and of all walks of the clinical journey (in remission, follow-up, having treatment or undergoing surgery). We also will enrol HCWs within the hospital from all sectors of care delivery - from nurses to doctors, administrative staff to catering staff, allied health and support workers. 

The study will enrol patients/participants into three groups:
Group A: patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and a history of cancer (n=200)
Group B: patients without a history of COVID-19 infection and a history of cancer (n=1000)
Group C: Hospital staff with or without a history of COVID-19 (n=200)

Comprehensive, longitudinal clinical annotation, participant questionnaires, meticulous and frequent sampling and long-term follow-up of these groups will allow robust and rapid insights that are urgently needed to guide clinical and workforce management. 

This knowledge is required well beyond the current pandemic as cancer and SARSCo-V2 will coincide in the same patients, and especially given the uncertainty regarding the nature and duration of immunity in cancer patients who develop the illness and the effectiveness of vaccines in the cancer population. This study will provide us with detailed information on how to safely manage cancer patients by both minimising the risk of infection but maintaining their cancer treatment. 

CAPTURE is sponsored by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and funded from a generous grant from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Contact us 


The Renal & Melanoma Unit,
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Fulham Road,

The CAPTURE trial is registered at Clinical NCT03226886, established under a broader translational program, TRACERx Renal. 

Download study documents here