1 Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.
2 Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.
3 Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.
4 Department of Medicine, Division of Computational Medicine and Population Health, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.
BACKGROUND: Disparities in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have been partly attributed to low socioeconomic status among minorities. We investigated associations between race, socioeconomic characteristics, geographic characteristics and survival in HCC patients in Florida.
METHODS: Using the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS), we analyzed HCC cases diagnosed between 1/1/2004 and 12/31/2013. To ascertain population-level socioeconomic characteristics, we linked FCDS to the 2010-2014 US Census American Community Survey and the 2013 Florida Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We also estimated patient distance to liver transplant and academic cancer centers. Using Cox proportional hazards, we modeled the association between race and survival.
RESULTS: Of 10,852 patients, 13.1% were Black, 67.1% White, 15.7% Hispanic, and 3.2% Asian. At diagnosis, Blacks were younger with more extensive disease, p <0.001. Transplants were performed in 9.3% of Hispanics, 7.5% of Whites, 5.8% of Asians and 4.2% of Blacks, p <0.001. Median survival was longest in Hispanics and shortest in Blacks, p<0.001 When adjusted for gender, age, payer, SEER stage, surgery type, and receipt of treatment, Blacks had a 17% increased risk of death [hazard ratio (HR) 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07-1.29] and Whites a 9% increased risk of death [HR 1.09, 95% CI 1.02-1.17] compared to Hispanics. As a group, Hispanics lived closest to any transplant or academic cancer center, p <0.001. Neighborhood poverty level was highest where Hispanic patients lived, p <0.001.
CONCLUSION: Though socioeconomic differences may contribute to disparities, Hispanics survived longer than Blacks and Whites in Florida despite living in the most socioeconomically depressed neighborhoods. Increased access to transplant likely contributed to improved survival. Additional research is needed to identify which individual socioeconomic and geographic determinants contribute most to disparities.