Centers with more therapeutic modalities are associated with improved outcomes for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

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3 Scopus citations


Background: Higher facility volume is correlated to better overall survival (OS), but there is little knowledge on the effect of facility treatment modality number on OS in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of data from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) from 2004-2014 on patients with non-metastatic HCC. Treatment modalities assessed were surgical resection, transplantation, ablation, radioembolization, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), single-agent chemotherapy, and multi-agent chemotherapy. Facilities were dichotomized at the median of the listed treatment modalities. Results: There were a total of 112,512 patients with non-metastatic HCC. Of a total of 1,230 sites, 830 (67.5%) used four or fewer modalities. Average survival for patients treated at facilities using fewer modalities was 12.0 and 23.5 months for those treated at facilities with more modalities [hazard ratio (HR) =0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51-0.53, P<0.001]. After adjusting for facility volume, liver function, tumor and patient characteristics and other prognostic factors in a multivariable Cox model, treatment at a multi-modality facility still provided a survival advantage (HR =0.60, 95% CI: 0.52-0.70, P<0.001). This benefit also persisted after propensity score matching. Sensitivity analysis varying the cut point from 2 to 6 modalities for dichotomization showed that the benefit persisted. Subgroup stratified analyses based on stage showed that the benefit in OS was highest for patients with stage I and II (P≤0.002) but was not significant for stage III or IVa. Conclusions: Institutions that offered more treatment modalities had improved OS for patients with non-metastatic HCC, especially for those with stage I and II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-553
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
  • National Cancer Database (NCDB)
  • Number of treatment modalities
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology

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