Impact of affordable care act on the treatment and outcomes for stage-IV colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Cancer Treat Res Commun. 2020 Aug 10;24:100204. doi: 10.1016/j.ctarc.2020.100204. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced cancers are among the most vulnerable group of patients. We sought to analyze the impact of Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the interaction of socioeconomic factors with treatment and survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancers.

METHODS: National Cancer Database (NCDB) was queried for patients with Stage-IV colon(CCa) and rectal cancers(R-Ca) diagnosed 2004-2015 and excluded those who did not receive any therapies within 6 months of diagnosis. Enrollment-rates were calculated as receipt of primary therapy as the incident-event (numerator) over time-to-initiation of therapy (denominator) and used to calculate incident-rate ratios that was analyzed using Poisson regression analysis- reported as enrollment-rate ratios (ER, <1 indicating lower enrollment rate). Multivariate Cox-proportional hazard model was performed for survival analysis and reported as calculate Hazard Ratios (HR).

RESULTS: For CCa, enrollment to primary therapies was significantly associated (p-value < 0.05) with gender, race, insurance status, educational status and treatment facility. The HR for non-Hispanic Blacks (NHB) vs. Whites (NHW) improved from 1.1(1.03-1.11),p-value<0.005 to no-significant difference post-ACA. For R-Ca, the enrollment rates were favorable for NHB vs. NHW and ER improved from 1.15(1.0-1.32),p-value = 0.054) to 1.29(1.06-1.58),p-value = 0.013 post-ACA. Despite this, the HR for mortality were unfavorable - 1.19(1.06-1.33),p-value = 0.003 that persisted through the post-ACA period. The HR was favorable for the insured group in both cancer groups (0.84 for R-Ca,0.86 for CCa) and for high-income vs. low-income group-0.90(0.87-0.94),p-value < 0.005 in CCa.

CONCLUSION: The ACA appears to have had a positive impact overall but further research and ongoing interventions are warranted to mitigate disparities in this population.