Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Disparities in Treatment Delay Among Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the United States

Nikita Sandeep Wagle, Sulki Park, David Washburn, Robert L. Ohsfeldt, Nicole E. Rich, Amit G. Singal, Hye Chung Kum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1281-1292.e10
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Inequity
  • Liver Cancer
  • Prognosis
  • Survival
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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