Disparities in Presentation at Time of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Diagnosis: A United States Safety-Net Collaborative Study

Joshua P. Kronenfeld, Emily L. Ryon, David Goldberg, Rachel M. Lee, Adam Yopp, Annie Wang, Ann Y. Lee, Sommer Luu, Cary Hsu, Eric Silberfein, Maria C. Russell, Alan S. Livingstone, Nipun B. Merchant, Neha Goel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: While hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is ideally diagnosed outpatient by screening at-risk patients, many are diagnosed in Emergency Departments (ED) due to undiagnosed liver disease and/or limited access-to-healthcare. This study aims to identify sociodemographic/clinical factors associated with being diagnosed with HCC in the ED to identify patients who may benefit from improved access-to-care. Methods: HCC patients diagnosed between 2012 and 2014 in the ED or an outpatient setting [Primary Care Physician (PCP) or hepatologist] were identified from the US Safety-Net Collaborative database and underwent retrospective chart-review. Multivariable regression identified predictors for an ED diagnosis. Results: Among 1620 patients, median age was 60, 68% were diagnosed outpatient, and 32% were diagnosed in the ED. ED patients were more likely male, Black/Hispanic, uninsured, and presented with more decompensated liver disease, aggressive features, and advanced clinical stage. On multivariable regression, controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, poverty, insurance, and PCP/navigator access, predictors for ED diagnosis were male (odds ratio [OR] 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1–2.2, p = 0.010), black (OR 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2–2.3, p = 0.002), Hispanic (OR 1.6, 95% CI: 1.1–2.6, p = 0.029), > 25% below poverty line (OR 1.4, 95% CI: 1.1–1.9, p = 0.019), uninsured (OR 3.9, 95% CI: 2.4–6.1, p < 0.001), and lack of PCP (OR 2.3, 95% CI: 1.5–3.6, p < 0.001) or navigator (OR 1.8, 95% CI: 1.3–2.5, p = 0.001). Conclusions: The sociodemographic/clinical profile of patients diagnosed with HCC in EDs differs significantly from those diagnosed outpatient. ED patients were more likely racial/ethnic minorities, uninsured, and had limited access to healthcare. This study highlights the importance of improved access-to-care in already vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1929-1936
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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