Surveillance Patterns for Hepatocellular Carcinoma among Screening-Eligible Patients in the Medicare Population

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Routine screening plays a critical role in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but not all patients undergo consistent surveillance. This study aims to evaluate surveillance patterns and their association with diagnosis stage and survival among Medicare patients at risk for HCC. Patients and Methods: Patients with HCC and guideline-based screening eligibility who underwent imaging with ultrasound or abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the 2 years prior to diagnosis were identified from SEER-Medicare (2008–2015). Three surveillance cohorts were created: diagnostic (imaging only within 3 months prior), intermittent (imaging only once within 2 years prior, excluding diagnostic), and routine (at least two imaging encounters within 2 years prior, excluding diagnostic). Multivariable logistic regression was used to predict early-stage diagnosis (stage I–II), and 5-year survival was evaluated using the accelerated failure time method with Weibull distribution. Results: Among 2261 eligible patients, 26.1% were classified as diagnostic, 15.8% as intermittent, and 58.1% as routine surveillance. The median age was 74 years (IQR 70–78 years). The majority of patients had a preexisting cirrhosis diagnosis (81.5%). Routine and intermittent, compared with diagnostic, surveillance were predictive of early-stage disease (routine: OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.64–2.56; intermittent: OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.07–1.90). Patients who underwent routine surveillance had significantly lower risk of mortality (HR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75–0.94) compared with the diagnostic group. Conclusions: A large proportion of screening-eligible patients do not undergo routine surveillance, which is associated with late-stage diagnosis and higher risk of mortality. These findings demonstrate the impact of timely and consistent healthcare access and can guide interventions for promoting surveillance among these patients.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 27618080
  • Author List

  • Papageorge MV; de Geus SWL; Woods AP; Ng SC; Lee S; McAneny D; Tseng JF; Kenzik KM; Sachs TE
  • Start Page

  • 8424
  • End Page

  • 8431
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 13