Association of County-Level Upward Economic Mobility with Stage at Diagnosis and Receipt of Curative-Intent Treatment among Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Ann Surg Oncol. 2022 Apr 19. doi: 10.1245/s10434-022-11726-7. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Upward economic mobility represents the ability of children to surpass their parents financially and improve their economic status. The extent to which it contributes to socioeconomic disparities in health outcomes remains largely unknown.

METHODS: Patients diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in 2004-2015 were identified from the SEER-Medicare linked database. Information on county-level upward economic mobility was obtained from the Opportunity Atlas, and its impact on early-stage diagnosis (tumor size ≤ 5 cm, no nodal involvement or distant metastases, no major vascular invasion or extrahepatic extension) and receipt of curative-intent treatment (resection, transplantation, or ablation) was examined.

RESULTS: Among 9190 Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with HCC, the majority were White (64.9%, n = 5965). Overall, 44.7% (n = 4105) of patients were diagnosed with early-stage HCC and 29.7% (n = 2731) underwent curative-intent treatment. While higher upward economic mobility was not associated with HCC diagnosis at an early stage (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.83-1.06), patients with early-stage HCC from areas of high upward economic mobility had increased odds of undergoing curative-intent treatment (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.03-1.51). Upward economic mobility had no impact on the likelihood to undergo curative-intent treatment for early-stage HCC among White (OR 1.15, 95% CI 0.91-1.45), Black (OR 1.94, 95% CI 0.85-4.45) or Asian patients (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.44-1.36). In contrast, non-White patients other than Blacks or Asians diagnosed with early-stage HCC had markedly higher odds of receiving curative-intent treatment if the individual resided in an area characterized by higher versus lower upward economic mobility (OR 2.58, 95% CI 1.50-4.46).

CONCLUSIONS: While community-level economic mobility was not associated with stage of diagnosis, it affected the likelihood of undergoing curative-intent treatment for early-stage HCC, especially among minority patients other than Black or Asian patients.

PMID:35441305 | DOI:10.1245/s10434-022-11726-7