Race is an important determinant of cancer outcome. The purpose of this study was to identify disparities in clinical presentation, treatment use, and in-hospital outcomes of patients with spinal metastases.
The United States National Inpatient Sample database (2004-2014) was queried to identify patients with metastatic disease and cord compression (MSCC) or spinal pathological fracture. Clinical presentation, type of intervention, and in-hospital outcomes were compared between races/ethnicities. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed and adjusted for differences in patient age, sex, insurance status, income quartile, hospital teaching status and size, Charlson comorbidity index, smoking status, tumor type, and neurological status.
A total of 145,809 patients were identified – 74.8 % Caucasian, 14.1 % African-American, 7.9 % Hispanic, and 3.2 % Asian. Over one-third of patients (38.1 %) presented with MSCC; 35.7 % of Caucasians, 50.3 % of AAs, 41.1 % of Hispanics, and 39.8 % of Asians (p < 0.001). Paralysis affected 8.4 % of all patients; 7.4 % of Caucasians, 12.7 % of AAs, 10.5 % of Hispanics, and 10.0 % of Asians (p < 0.001). For patients with MSCC, multivariate analysis showed that AAs were less likely to undergo surgical intervention (OR 0.71; 95 % CI, 0.62 – 0.82; p < 0.001), significantly more likely to experience a complication (OR 1.25; 95 % CI, 1.12-1.40; p < 0.001), significantly more likely to experience prolonged length of stay (OR 1.22; 95 % CI, 1.08-1.36; p = 0.001), and significantly more likely to experience a non-routine discharge (OR 1.19; 95 % CI, 1.05-1.35; p = 0.007) compared to Caucasians.
Minority groups with spinal metastatic disease may be at a disadvantage compared to Caucasians, with significant disparities found in presenting characteristics, type of intervention, and in-hospital outcomes. Continued efforts to overcome these differences are needed.
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