Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma in the community: Disparities in standard therapy

Linda C. Harlan, Helen M. Parsons, Charles L. Wiggins, Jennifer L. Stevens, Yehuda Z. Patt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) incidence is expected to rise dramatically over the next decades because of increasing hepatitis C infections and obesity-related comorbidities. However, little information exists regarding the treatment of patients with HCC in the community setting. The purpose of this article was to characterize patterns of diagnosis, treatment, and survival for HCC in the community. Methods: We identified 946 HCC patients in the 2007 National Cancer Institute's Patterns of Care study. Chi-square analyses and multivariable regression were used to examine patient and provider factors associated with treatment and survival by stage at diagnosis. Results: Our primary findings indicate that liver transplants, embolization, or radiofrequency ablation for Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage A patients were performed significantly less often for non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, patients in the highest income quartile, and patients with Medicaid. Patients with stage D disease were less likely to receive cancer therapy if they had Medicaid insurance compared to private insurance (p<0.001 for all). In multivariable analyses, all-cause mortality was associated with treatment in a hospital without a residency training program (hazard ratio [HR] 1.4 [1.1,1.9]), more advanced stage (HR: 10.6 [5.7, 19.5] stage D vs. A), and lack of appropriate treatment (HR: 2.4 [1.9,3.2]). Conclusions: This is the first population-based study to evaluate therapy provided for HCC in the community. Current therapy depended on patients' HCC stage at diagnosis and other clinical and demographic factors. Overall, our study identifies those least likely to receive specific therapies in a variety of health care settings and can inform strategies for promoting appropriate therapy now and as new agents are developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalLiver Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 6 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Embolization
  • Insurance
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver transplant
  • Population based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Oncology


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