PURPOSE: Socioeconomic status (SES) influences health care outcomes, but the influence of primary payer on cancer-associated wasting is unknown. We hypothesized that primary payer as an indicator of SES would influence pretreatment cancer-associated weight loss and treatment outcomes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective review of medical records identified 1,366 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) consecutively treated at a tertiary care health system between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2013. Insurance status was obtained from an institutional tumor registry. Cancer-associated weight loss was based on the validated international consensus definition of cachexia. Multivariable regression analyses were used to identify prognostic factors of pretreatment cancer-associated weight loss and survival. RESULTS: The cohort included a representative group of patients with a median age at diagnosis of 64 years, 47% females, and 33% patients of nonwhite race. Pretreatment cancer-associated weight loss was present at the time of NSCLC diagnosis in 17%, 14%, 32%, and 38% of patients with stage I, II, III, and IV disease, respectively. Pretreatment cancer-associated weight loss was associated with increasing age at diagnosis, black race, single marital status, tobacco use, and disease stage. Compared with private insurance, Medicaid insurance (odds ratio, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.42 to 3.30) and lack of insurance (odds ratio, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.50 to 3.58) were associated with pretreatment cancer-associated weight loss. Among cachectic patients, comorbidity, histology, tumor grade, and disease stage were prognostic of survival on multivariable analysis; however, primary payer was not. CONCLUSION: Pretreatment cancer-associated weight loss is common in patients with NSCLC, and its presence is significantly associated with lower SES. However, among patients with pretreatment cancer-associated weight loss, SES was not predictive of survival. Early use of cancer cachexia-directed therapies may improve outcomes, and further study on the biologic mechanisms of cancer cachexia will provide novel therapeutic avenues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy