Original Investigation
Association of VA Surgeons
April 2016

Associations of Socioeconomic Variables With Resection, Stage, and Survival in Patients With Early-Stage Pancreatic Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Surgery Service, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Research Service, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 5Pathology Service, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 6Medicine Service, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 7Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 8Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 9Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Surg. 2016;151(4):338-345. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.4239

Importance  Socioeconomic variables including sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, and insurance status are associated with survival in pancreatic cancer. It remains unknown exactly how these variables influence survival, including whether they affect stage at presentation or receipt of treatment or are independently associated with outcomes.

Objectives  To investigate the relationship between socioeconomic factors and odds of resection in early-stage, resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma and to determine whether these same factors were independently associated with survival in patients who underwent resection.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This was a retrospective cohort study of patients diagnosed as having T1 through T3 M0 pancreatic adenocarcinoma between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2011, identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Socioeconomic and geographic variables associated with utilization of resection and disease-specific survival.

Results  A total of 17 530 patients with localized, nonmetastatic pancreatic cancer were identified. The resection rate among these patients was 45.4% and did not change over time. Utilization of resection was independently associated with white vs African American race (odds ratio [OR] = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.65-0.88; P < .001), non-Hispanic ethnicity (for Hispanic, OR = 0.72; 95% CI, 0.60-0.85; P < .001), married status (OR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.30-1.57; P < .001), insurance coverage (OR = 1.63; 95% CI, 1.22-2.18; P = .001), and the Northeast region (vs Southeast, OR = 1.67; 95% CI, 1.44-1.94; P < .001). Stage at presentation correlated with sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, and geographic region (ethnicity, P = .003; all others, P < .001); however, the factors associated with increased resection correlated with more advanced stage. Patients who underwent resection had significantly improved disease-specific survival compared with those who did not undergo resection (median, 21 vs 6 months; hazard ratio [HR] for disease-specific death = 0.32; 95% CI, 0.31-0.33; P < .001). Disease-specific survival among the patients who underwent surgical resection was independently associated with geographic region, with patients in the Pacific West (HR for death = 0.706; 95% CI, 0.628-0.793), Northeast (HR for death = 0.766; 95% CI, 0.667-0.879), and Midwest (HR for death = 0.765; 95% CI, 0.640-0.913) having improved survival in comparison with those in the Southeast (all P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance  Disparities in the utilization of surgical resection for patients with early-stage, resectable pancreatic cancer are associated with socioeconomic variables including race, ethnicity, marital status, insurance status, and geographic location. Of these factors, only geographic location is independently associated with survival in patients undergoing resection.