Racial, Social, and Clinical Determinants of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Surveillance



      Less than 1 in 5 patients receive hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance; however, most studies were performed in racially and socioeconomically homogenous populations, and few used guideline-based definitions for surveillance. The study objective was to characterize guideline-consistent hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance rates and identify determinants of hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance among a racially and socioeconomically diverse cohort of cirrhotic patients.


      We retrospectively characterized hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance among cirrhotic patients followed between July 2008 and July 2011 at an urban safety-net hospital. Inconsistent surveillance was defined as at least 1 screening ultrasound during the 3-year period, annual surveillance was defined as screening ultrasounds every 12 months, and biannual surveillance was defined as screening ultrasounds every 6 months. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify predictors of surveillance.


      Of 904 cirrhotic patients, 603 (67%) underwent inconsistent surveillance. Failure to recognize cirrhosis was a significant barrier to surveillance use (P < .001). Inconsistent surveillance was associated with insurance status (odds ratio [OR], 1.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-1.98), multiple primary care visits per year (OR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.86-3.71), multiple hepatology visits per year (OR, 3.75; 95% CI, 2.64-5.33), African American race (OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.42-0.99), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis cause (OR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.37-0.98), and extrahepatic cancer (OR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.24-0.77). Only 98 (13.4%) of 730 patients underwent annual surveillance, and only 13 (1.7%) of 786 had biannual surveillance.


      Only 13% of patients with cirrhosis receive annual surveillance, and less than 2% of patients receive biannual surveillance. There are racial and socioeconomic disparities, with lower rates of hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance among African Americans and underinsured patients.


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      Linked Article

      • Screening for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Where Is the Inconsistency?
        The American Journal of MedicineVol. 128Issue 3
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          Singal et al1 investigated various determinants of the “inconsistent” surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with cirrhosis (13% receiving annual surveillance and <2% receiving biannual surveillance). Indeed, hepatologists' professional societies in the United States and Europe repeatedly promote hepatocellular carcinoma screening, with a grade I recommendation, but the uptake of screening for hepatocellular carcinoma still remains low, even in high-quality organization.2 However, the inconsistency may lie elsewhere and may apply to the recommendation itself.
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