Patients with cancer may be at increased risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the role of viral load on this risk is unknown . We measured SARS-CoV-2 viral load using cycle threshold (CT) values from reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays applied to nasopharyngeal swab specimens in 100 patients with cancer and 2914 without cancer who were admitted to three New York City hospitals . Overall, the in-hospital mortality rate was 38.8% among patients with a high viral load , 24.1% among patients with a medium viral load, and 15.3% among patients with a low viral load (P <0.001). Similar findings were observed in patients with cancer (high , 45.2% mortality; medium , 28.0% ; low , 12.1% ; P=0.008). Patients with hematologic malignancies had higher median viral loads (CT=25.0) than patients without cancer (CT=29.2; P=0.0039). SARS-CoV-2 viral load results may offer vital prognostic information for patients with and without cancer who are hospitalized with COVID-19.