Socioeconomic inequalities in treatment and relative survival among patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: a Hong Kong population-based study


The influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on access to standard chemotherapy and/or monoclonal antibody therapy, and associated secular trends, relative survival, and excess mortality, among diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients is not clear. We conducted a Hong Kong population-based cohort study and identified adult patients with histologically diagnosed DLBCL between 2000 and 2018. We examined the association of SES levels with the odds and the secular trends of receipt of chemotherapy and/or rituximab. Additionally, we estimated the long-term relative survival by SES utilizing Hong Kong life tables. Among 4017 patients with DLBCL, 2363 (58.8%) patients received both chemotherapy and rituximab and 740 (18.4%) patients received chemotherapy alone, while 1612 (40.1%) and 914 (22.8%) patients received no rituximab or chemotherapy, respectively. On multivariable analysis, low SES was associated with lesser use of chemotherapy (odd ratio $[$OR$]$ 0.44; 95% CI 0.34โ€“0.57) and rituximab (OR 0.41; 95% CI 0.32โ€“0.52). The socioeconomic disparity for either treatment showed no secular trend of change. Additionally, patients with low SES showed increased excess mortality, with a hazard ratio of 2.34 (95% CI 1.67โ€“3.28). Improving survival outcomes for patients with DLBCL requires provision of best available medical care and securing access to treatment regardless of patients'SES.