Older Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma Have More Advanced Disease, Lower Rates of Treatment, and Lower Survival

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Abstract

Goals:

To evaluate age-specific disparities in cancer stage at diagnosis, receipt of treatment, and survival among adults with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Background:

HCC has become the fastest rising cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The aging population coupled with the rising incidence of HCC will result in an emerging cohort of older patients with HCC placing significant burden health care systems.

Study:

Using 2003 to 2011 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data, a US population-based cancer registry, we retrospectively evaluated age-specific disparities in cancer stage at diagnosis, receipt of treatment, and survival among adults with HCC. Multivariate logistic regression models evaluated HCC stage at diagnosis and HCC treatment received. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models evaluated long-term survival.

Results:

Compared with HCC patients below 50 years old, patients aged 70 years or older were less likely to have HCC within Milan criteria [odds ratio, 0.58; confidence interval (CI), 0.54-0.63; P<0.001]. Older age was also associated with significantly lower rates of receiving HCC treatment. Even after adjusting for stage of disease, patients aged 70 years or older had the lowest odds of receiving any HCC treatment compared with patients below 50 years old (odds ratio, 0.52; CI, 0.46-0.60; P<0.001). On multivariate Cox regression, HCC patients aged 70 years or older had significantly lower survival compared with patients below 50 years old (hazards ratio, 1.22; CI, 1.15-1.30; P<0.001).

Conclusions:

Among US adults with HCC, patients aged 70 years or older were less likely to have HCC within Milan criteria at diagnosis, less likely to receive any HCC treatment, and had significantly lower long-term survival.

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