Trends and Disparities in Treatment Utilization for Early-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Veteran Population

Patricio M. Polanco, Michelle R. Ju, Matthieu Chansard, M. Mathew Augustine, Jennie Meier, Eric Mortensen, Herbert J. Zeh, Adam C. Yopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has substantially increased over the last two decades within the Veteran Affairs Health System (VAHS). This study aims to describe the temporal trend of early-stage HCC (ES-HCC) treatment in the VAHS and identify patient/hospital factors associated with treatment disparities. Patients and Methods: VA Corporate Data Warehouse was used to identify patients diagnosed with ES-HCC (stages I/II) from 2001 to 2015. Initial course of therapy was categorized as curative treatment (CT), noncurative treatment (NCT), or no treatment (NT). Univariate logistic regression and stepwise multivariate logistic regression models were used to analyze factors associated with receipt of treatment (CT/NCT) versus NT and receipt of CT versus NCT. Results: Our study included 9504 patients (15% CT, 51% NCT, and 34% NT). During the study period, the rate of overall treatment increased, while the rate of CT decreased (p < 0.001). Stage II, age > 65 years, presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), Child–Pugh C, higher Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, platelets < 100,000/mm3, low hospital complexity score, and Southwest location were significantly associated with higher rates of NT (all p < 0.05). Factors significantly associated with decreased utilization of CT included Hispanic race, lower hospital complexity score, and treatment in the Midwest, West, or Southeast regions (all p < 0.05). Conclusions: There is a significant trend toward increased overall treatment utilization with decreased use of curative-intent approaches for ES-HCC in the national veteran population, and significant hospital and regional disparities exist. Further characterization and investigation of these factors may facilitate implementation of interventions to improve treatment utilization for the veteran population with HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Trends and Disparities in Treatment Utilization for Early-Stage Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the Veteran Population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this