Publication Abstract

Authors: White LA, Menzin J, Korn JR, Friedman M, Lang K, Ray S

Title: Medical care costs and survival associated with hepatocellular carcinoma among the elderly.

Journal: Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 10(5):547-54

Date: 2012 May

Abstract: BACKGROUND & AIMS: We assessed the burden of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), in terms of mortality and medical care costs, based on analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. METHODS: We analyzed data from the SEER-Medicare database on patients 66 years or older who were diagnosed with primary HCC from 1991 to 2007, entitled for Medicare Parts A and B, and not enrolled in health maintenance organizations (n = 5712). Controls were individuals without HCC, identified from a 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries residing in SEER areas; they were matched 1:1 with individuals with HCC (cases) for age, sex, race, and geographic region (average age, 75 y; 34.7% female). Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to estimate survival distributions. Costs were reported in 2009 dollars; per-patient-per-month (PPPM) costs were compared between cases and controls using the Wilcoxon rank sum test. RESULTS: The largest proportion of cases had localized disease (38.2%), followed by regional (24.0%), unstaged (20.4%), and distant (17.3%) disease. The median survival times were 5 months for cases and 60 months for controls; they were 3 months for patients with distant disease, 4 months for patients with regional disease, and 9 months for those with localized disease. The mean PPPM costs were $7863 for cases and $1243 for controls (P < .001). These costs were primarily driven by inpatient (mean, $5439 vs $682 without HCC; P < .001) and hospice (mean $554 vs $42 without HCC; P < .001) care. Mean PPPM costs by stage were $7265 for localized disease, $8072 for regional disease, and $9585 for distant disease (P < .001 for trend). CONCLUSIONS: Based on analysis of the SEER-Medicare database, costs for patients with HCC are approximately 6- to 8-fold higher than for those without this cancer. Patients with distant HCC had the greatest costs. These findings highlight that HCC is a substantial medical cost burden for elderly patients.