Background & Aims: Failures have been reported across the cancer care continuum in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC); however, the impact of treatment delays on outcomes has not been well-characterized. We described the prevalence of treatment delays in a racially and ethnically diverse cohort of patients and its association with overall survival. Methods: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database, we identified patients diagnosed with HCC between 2001 and 2015. We performed multivariable logistic regression analysis to identify factors associated with treatment delay (ie, receipt of HCC-directed therapy >3 months after diagnosis). Cox proportional hazards regression analysis with a 5-month landmark was used to characterize the association between treatment delay and overall survival, accounting for immortal time bias. Results: Of 8450 patients with treatment within 12 months of HCC diagnosis, 1205 (14.3%) experienced treatment delays. The proportion with treatment delays ranged from 6.8% of patients undergoing surgical resection to 21.6% of those undergoing liver transplantation. In multivariable analysis, Black patients (odds ratio, 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21–3.15) and those living in high poverty neighborhoods (odds ratio, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.25–1.92) were more likely to experience treatment delays than white patients and those living in low poverty neighborhoods, respectively. Treatment delay was independently associated with worse survival (hazard ratio 1.15, 95% CI, 1.05–1.25). Conclusions: Nearly 1 in 7 patients with HCC experience treatment delays, with higher odds in Black patients and those living in high poverty neighborhoods. Treatment delays are associated with worse survival, highlighting a need for interventions to improve time-to-treatment.
- Liver Cancer
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