DOI: 10.1200/jco.23.01045 ISSN: 0732-183X

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Intensity of Care at the End of Life for Patients With Lung Cancer: A 13-Year Population-Based Study

Gladys M. Rodriguez, Rita Popat, Lisa G. Rosas, Manali I. Patel
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Disparities in lung cancer mortality among racial and ethnic minorities are well documented. Less is known as to whether racial and ethnic minority patients with lung cancer experience higher rates of intensity of care at the end of life (EOL) compared with non-Hispanic White (NHW) patients.


We conducted a population-based analysis of patients 18 years and older with a lung cancer diagnosis who died between 2005 and 2018 using the California Cancer Registry linked to patient discharge data abstracts. Our primary outcome was intensity of care in the last 14 days before death (defined as any hospital admission or emergency department [ED] visit, intensive care unit [ICU] admission, intubation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR], hemodialysis, and death in an acute care setting). We used multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate associations between race and ethnicity and intensity of EOL care.


Among 207,429 patients with lung cancer who died from 2005 to 2018, the median age was 74 years (range, 18-107) and 106,821 (51%) were male, 146,872 (70.8%) were NHW, 1,045 (0.5%) were American Indian, 21,697 (10.5%) were Asian Pacific Islander (API), 15,490 (7.5%) were Black, and 22,325 (10.8%) were Hispanic. Compared with NHW patients, in the last 14 days before death, API, Black, and Hispanic patients had greater odds of a hospital admission, an ICU admission, intubation, CPR, and hemodialysis and greater odds of a hospital or ED death.


Compared with NHW patients, API, Black, and Hispanic patients who died with lung cancer experienced higher intensity of EOL care. Future studies should develop approaches to eliminate such racial and ethnic disparities in care delivery at the EOL.

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