The association of health insurance with the survival of cancer patients with brain metastases at diagnosis

Alex Kolomaya, Saber Amin, Chi Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Synchronous brain metastases (SBMs) are a presentation of stage IV cancers with limited treatment options. This study examines the association between health insurance status and overall survival (OS) of patients with SBMs using the National Cancer Database (NCBD). Methods: We queried the NCDB for patients with SBMs from 2010 to 2015. Included cases were from seven primary cancers. Patients were grouped based on their insurance status. We assessed the association of insurance with OS using a Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for age at diagnosis, sex, race, education level, income level, residential area, treatment facility type, Charlson-Deyo comorbidity status, year of diagnosis, primary tumor type, and receipt of chemotherapy, radiation therapy (RT), immunotherapy, and primary site surgery. Results: Of 97,659 patients included, those who had Medicaid, Medicare, or without health insurance were less likely to receive brain RT, chemotherapy, and/or surgery of the primary cancer site compared to privately insured patients. In multivariable COX analysis, patients with Medicare (HR = 1.11, 95% CI: 1.09–1.14, P < 0.001), Medicaid (HR = 1.11, 95% CI: 1.09–1.13, P < 0.001), or no insurance (HR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.14–1.22, P < 0.001) were associated with decreased OS compared to private insurance. Conclusion: After retrospective analysis, Medicaid, Medicare, and no insurance were all associated with worse OS compared to private insurance. Future studies can focus on determining the factors associated with insurance status and factors contributing to improved OS stratified by insurance status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalTechnical Innovations and Patient Support in Radiation Oncology
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Brain neoplasms
  • Insurance status
  • National cancer database
  • Payer status
  • Synchronous brain metastases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy
  • Care Planning


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