Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is an effective but expensive medical procedure to which some ethnic minorities, the elderly, and those without insurance have been shown to have limited access. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether socioeconomic factors were associated with HSCT usage rates in patients with leukemia.
The authors identified 6574 patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukeima, chronic myelogenous leukemia, or other leukemias from the 1999 Texas Hospital Inpatient Discharge Public Use Data File. Of these patients, 1604 received an autologous or allogeneic HSCT. The authors assessed patients' ethnicity, payer status, age, gender, and comorbid medical conditions. Logistic regression was used to control for patient characteristics and to evaluate associations among payer status, ethnicity, and HSCT use. P ≤ 0.05 indicated statistical significance.
Patients who self-paid had the highest rate of HSCT use in all age groups (32%; P ≤ 0.01) and in the adult group (36%; P = 0.11). Elderly patients with Medicare had a low rate of HSCT use (17%; P = 0.13). Logistic regression showed no statistically significant associations between payer status or ethnicity and HSCT use. However, elderly women were significantly less likely to undergo HSCT than elderly men (odds ratio, 0.34; P ≤ 0.01).
The lack of statistically significant differences in HSCT use among adult patients with leukemia was surprising because previous studies had shown differences in HSCT by ethnicity and insurance. Cancer 2004. © 2004 American Cancer Society.