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  • Author: Andrew M. Moon x
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Andrew M. Moon, Hanna K. Sanoff, YunKyung Chang, Jennifer L. Lund, A. Sidney Barritt IV, Paul H. Hayashi and Karyn B. Stitzenberg

Background: Early treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is associated with improved survival, but many patients with HCC do not receive therapy. We aimed to examine factors associated with HCC treatment and survival among incident patients with HCC in a statewide cancer registry. Materials and Methods: All patients with HCC from 2003 through 2013 were identified in the North Carolina cancer registry. These patients were linked to insurance claims from Medicare, Medicaid, and large private insurers in North Carolina. Associations between prespecified covariates and more advanced HCC stage at diagnosis (ie, multifocal cancer), care at a liver transplant center, and provision of HCC treatment were examined using multivariate logistic regression. A Cox proportional hazards model was developed to assess the association between these factors and survival. Results: Of 1,809 patients with HCC, 53% were seen at a transplant center <90 days from diagnosis, with lower odds among those who were Black (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.54; 95% CI, 0.39–0.74), had Medicare insurance (aOR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.21–0.59), had Medicaid insurance (aOR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.28–0.77), and lived in a rural area; odds of transplant center visits were higher among those who had prediagnosis alpha fetoprotein screening (aOR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.35–2.23) and PCP and gastroenterology care (aOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.27–2.18). Treatment was more likely among patients who had prediagnosis gastroenterology care (aOR, 1.68; 95% CI, 0.98–2.86) and transplant center visits (aOR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.74–3.36). Survival was strongly associated with age, cancer stage, cirrhosis complications, and receipt of HCC treatment. Individuals with Medicare (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.58; 95% CI, 1.20–2.09) and Medicaid insurance (aHR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.17–2.05) had shorter survival than those with private insurance. Conclusions: In this population-based cohort of patients with HCC, Medicare/Medicaid insurance, rural residence, and Black race were associated with lower provision of HCC treatment and poorer survival. Efforts should be made to improve access to care for these vulnerable populations.