Defining Value for Pancreatic Surgery in Early-Stage Pancreatic Cancer

Sarah B. Bateni, Alicia A. Gingrich, Jeffrey S Hoch, Robert J Canter, Richard J Bold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Importance: Value-based care is increasingly important, with rising health care costs and advances in cancer treatment leading to greater survival for patients with cancer. Regionalization of surgical care for pancreatic cancer has been extensively studied as a strategy to improve perioperative outcomes, but investigation of long-term outcomes relative to health care costs (ie, value) is lacking. Objective: To identify patient and hospital characteristics associated with improved overall survival, decreased costs, and greater value among patients with pancreatic cancer undergoing curative resection. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study identified 2786 patients with stages I to II pancreatic cancer who underwent pancreatic resection at 157 hospitals from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2012. The study used the California Cancer Registry, which collects data from all California residents newly diagnosed with cancer, linked to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development database, which collects administrative data from all California licensed hospitals. Data were analyzed from November 11, 2017, through September 4, 2018. Exposures: Pancreatic resection at high-volume and/or National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes were overall survival, surgical hospitalization costs, and value. High value was defined as the fourth quintile or higher for survival and the second quintile or less for costs. Costs were calculated from charges using cost-charge ratios and adjusted for geographic variation and inflation. Multivariable regression models were used to determine factors associated with overall survival, costs, and high value. Results: Among the 2786 patients included (1394 [50.0%] male; mean [SD] age, 67.0 [10.7] years), postoperative chemotherapy (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.71; 95% CI, 0.64-0.79; P <.001) and high-volume centers (aHR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.61-0.99; P =.04) were associated with greater overall survival. Higher Elixhauser comorbidity index scores (estimate, 0.006; 95% CI, 0.003-0.008), complications (estimate, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.17-0.27), readmissions (estimate, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.29-0.39), and longer lengths of stay (estimate, 0.03; 95% CI, 0.03-0.04) were associated with higher costs (P <.001), whereas postoperative chemotherapy was associated with lower costs (estimate,-0.06; 95% CI,-0.11 to-0.02; P =.006). National Cancer Institute-designated and high-volume centers were not associated with costs. Although grades III and IV tumors (odds ratio [OR], 0.65; 95% CI, 0.39-0.91; P =.001), T3 category disease (OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.46-0.95; P =.005), complications (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.49-0.86; P <.001), readmissions (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.44-0.84; P <.001), and length of stay (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.78-0.85; P <.001) were inversely associated with high-value care, NCI designation (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.66-1.49; P =.74) and high-volume centers (OR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.54-1.61; P =.07) were not. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, high-value care was associated with important patient characteristics and postoperative outcomes. However, NCI-designated and high-volume centers were not associated with greater value. These data suggest that targeted measures to enhance value may be needed in these centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJAMA Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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