Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 936–944 | Cite as

Psychosocial Risks are Independently Associated with Cancer Surgery Outcomes in Medically Comorbid Patients

  • Ira L. Leeds
  • Patrick M. Meyers
  • Zachary O. Enumah
  • Jin He
  • Richard A. Burkhart
  • Elliott R. Haut
  • Jonathan E. Efron
  • Fabian M. JohnstonEmail author
Health Services Research and Global Oncology



The specific effect of psychosocial risk factors on surgical outcomes in cancer patients remains unexplored. The purpose of this prospective observational study was to assess the association of preoperative psychosocial risk factors and 30-day complications following cancer surgery.


Psychosocial risks among elective gastrointestinal cancer surgery patients were ascertained through structured interviews using well-established screening forms. We then collected postoperative course by chart review. Multivariable analysis of short-term surgical outcomes was performed in those with a low versus high number of psychosocial risks.


Overall, 142 patients had a median age of 65 years (interquartile range 55–71), 55.9% were male, and 23.1% were non-White. More than half (58.2%) of the study population underwent a resection for a hepato-pancreato-biliary primary tumor, and 31.9% had a colorectal primary tumor. High-risk biomedical comorbidities were present in 43.5% of patients, and three-quarters of patients (73.4%) had at least one psychosocial risk. Complication rates in patients with at least one psychosocial risk were 28.0 absolute percentage points higher than those with no psychosocial risks (54.4% vs. 26.2%, p = 0.039). Multiple psychosocial risk factors in medically comorbid patients independently conferred an increase in the odds of a complication by 3.37-fold (95% CI 1.08–10.48, p = 0.036) compared with those who had one or no psychosocial risks.


We demonstrated a more than threefold odds of a complication in medically comorbid patients with multiple psychosocial risks. These findings support the use of psychosocial risks in preoperative assessment and consideration for inclusion in preoperative optimization efforts.



ILL received salary support from a National Cancer Institute T32 Institutional Training Grant (5T32CA126607) and a Research Foundation of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons Resident Research Initiation Grant (GSRRIG-031) for the preparation of this manuscript. FMJ received salary support as the primary investigator of an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality grant (1K08HS024736-01).


Ira L. Leeds, Patrick M. Meyers, Zachary O. Enumah, Jin He, Richard A. Burkhart, Elliott R. Haut, Jonathan E. Efron, and Fabian M. Johnston have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 287 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ira L. Leeds
    • 1
  • Patrick M. Meyers
    • 1
  • Zachary O. Enumah
    • 1
  • Jin He
    • 1
  • Richard A. Burkhart
    • 1
  • Elliott R. Haut
    • 1
  • Jonathan E. Efron
    • 1
  • Fabian M. Johnston
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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