Background Racial disparities in patient-reported outcomes (PROs; e.g., symptoms, financial burden) among patients with cancer are well documented. Prior studies have attributed such disparities to patient- and provider-level factors, but less is known about the contribution of practice-level factors. Hospital racial composition of patients has been linked to disparities in care quality and outcomes, but questions remain regarding whether oncology practice racial composition mediates racial disparities. Using 2017-2020 data from the Patient-Reported Outcomes to Enhance Cancer Treatment (PRO-TECT) trial (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03249090), we examined racial disparities in PROs among patients with metastatic cancer, and whether oncology practice racial composition accounted for observed disparities. Methods Our sample included 1099 patients (n=198 Black; n=901 White) from 51 community oncology practices across the US. Predictors of interest were patient race (Black vs. White) and practice-reported racial composition (Black patient population >20% vs. ≤20%). Patient-reported outcome metrics included pain, appetite loss, fatigue, nausea, dyspnea, insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, and financial burden, measured at baseline and at 1- and 3-month follow-up using the EORTC Quality of Life Core Questionnaire (QLQ-C30). Raw EORTC QLQ-C30 scores were standardized to range from 0 (best) to 100 (worst). We estimated multilevel linear mixed models predicting each PRO as a function of patient race, adjusting for clinical and sociodemographic factors, followed by further adjustment for practice racial composition. Results Twelve out of fifty-one (23.5%) practices reported a Black racial composition of >20%, with 41.6% of Blacks and 14.5% Whites receiving care at these practices.
Across all practices, Blacks reported worse pain (β=5.5, p=0.02), nausea (β=2.5, p=0.04) and financial burden (β=7.6, p<0.01), but less fatigue (β=-4.1, p=0.05) when compared with Whites. Regardless of race, patients receiving care at practices with a Black racial composition of >20% reported more pain (β=5.5, p=0.01), appetite loss (β=8.1, p<0.01), fatigue (β=5.1, p=0.01), nausea (β=2.3, p=0.05), dyspnea (β=4.3, p=0.04), and insomnia (β=4.8, p=0.03) than patients receiving care at practices comprised of ⇐20% Blacks. Practice racial composition did not mediate racial disparities in PROs. Conclusion Racial disparities in PROs were observed among patients treated at US community oncology practices. Practice racial composition was associated with multiple PROs, regardless of patient race, but racial disparities in PROs were not explained by practice racial composition. These findings suggest that identifying and addressing the needs of practices serving a disproportionate share of Black patents may be one effective strategy to mitigate practice-level disparities in cancer outcomes.
Citation Format: Cleo A. Samuel, Olive Mbah, Wendi Elkins, Marjory Charlot, Amylou Dueck, Brenda F. Ginos, Jennifer Jansen, Deborah Schrag, Patty Spears, Angela Stover, Ethan Basch. Separate and unequal: Examining the role of race and site of care on patient-reported outcomes among patients with metastatic cancer (AFT-39) [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Virtual Conference: Thirteenth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2020 Oct 2-4. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(12 Suppl):Abstract nr PO-119.