The use of chemotherapy in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is associated with survival benefits and alleviation of symptoms related to AML. Prior studies have demonstrated a lower receipt of chemotherapy with increasing age and comorbidities. We hypothesized that socioeconomic and health system factors also determine the use of chemotherapy. We included 61 775 adults with AML diagnosed between 2003 and 2011 from the National Cancer Database, and performed a multivariable logistic regression model to determine the association between receipt of chemotherapy and several factors. A total of 15 608 patients (25.3%) did not receive chemotherapy. In a multivariable analysis, the likelihood of getting chemotherapy declined with increasing age and comorbidities and among patients with therapy-related and intermediate-/high-risk AML. Other factors associated with a lower likelihood of receiving chemotherapy included receipt of care in nonacademic centers, African American race, lower income status, uninsured or Medicare insurance status, and female sex. Compared with the previous studies, our study is novel because it provides data from a large, unselected cohort of patients diagnosed in the United States in recent years, and simultaneously examines the effect of various biological, socioeconomic, and health system factors. The results of our study raise a possibility of leukemia care disparity based on socioeconomic and health system factors. Better understanding of ways such factors may influence receipt of chemotherapy may allow an increase in the use of chemotherapy.
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