Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) incidence and outcomes vary across populations in the United States, but few studies evaluate local drivers of observed disparities. We measured HCC incidence at the community level and assessed community-level HCC risk factors with the goal of informing resource allocation to improve early case detection, which is associated with improved outcomes.
Clinical and demographic data including census tract of residence for all adults diagnosed with HCC in the Connecticut Tumor Registry between 2008 and 2019 were combined with publicly available U.S. Census and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data at the ZIP Code tabulation area (ZCTA) level. The average annual incidence of HCC was calculated for each ZCTA and associations between community-level characteristics, HCC incidence, stage at diagnosis, and survival were evaluated.
Average annual HCC incidence during the study period was 8.9/100,000 adults and varied from 0 to 97.7 per 100,000 adults by ZCTA. At the community level, lower rates of high school graduation, higher rates of poverty, and rural community type were associated with higher HCC incidence. Persons with HCC living in the highest incidence ZCTAs were diagnosed at a younger age and were less likely to be alive at 1, 2, and 5 years after diagnosis.
Community-level socioeconomic factors are strongly associated with HCC incidence and survival in Connecticut.
This reproducible geo-localization approach using cancer registry, Census, and CDC data can be used to identify communities most likely to benefit from health system investments to reduce disparities in HCC.