Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 141, Issue 1, pp 159–166 | Cite as

The impact of traveling distance and hospital volume on post-surgical outcomes for patients with glioblastoma

  • Christian Lopez Ramos
  • Michael G. Brandel
  • Jeffrey A. Steinberg
  • Arvin R. Wali
  • Robert C. Rennert
  • David R. Santiago-Dieppa
  • Reith R. Sarkar
  • J. Scott Pannell
  • James D. Murphy
  • Alexander A. KhalessiEmail author
Clinical Study



High-volume hospitals are associated with improved outcomes in glioblastoma (GBM). However, the impact of travel burden to high-volume centers is poorly understood. We examined post-operative outcomes between GBM patients that underwent treatment at local, low-volume hospitals with those that traveled long distances to high-volume hospitals.


The National Cancer Database was queried for GBM patients that underwent surgery (2010–2014). We established two cohorts: patients in the lowest quartile of travel distance and volume (Short-travel/Low-Volume: STLV) and patients in the highest quartile of travel and volume (Long-travel/High-Volume: LTHV). Outcomes analyzed were 30-day, 90-day mortality, overall survival, 30-day readmission, and hospital length of stay.


Of 35,529 cases, STLV patients (n = 3414) traveled a median of 3 miles (Interquartile range [IQR] 1.8–4.2) to low-volume centers (5 [3–7] annual cases) and LTHV patients (n = 3808) traveled a median of 62 miles [44.1–111.3] to high-volume centers (48 [42–71]). LTHV patients were younger, had lower Charlson scores, largely received care at academic centers (84.4% vs 11.9%), were less likely to be minorities (8.1% vs 17.1%) or underinsured (6.9% vs 12.1), and were more likely to receive trimodality therapy (75.6% vs 69.2%; all p < 0.001). On adjusted analysis, LTHV predicted improved overall survival (HR 0.87, p = 0.002), decreased 90-day mortality (OR 0.72, p = 0.019), lower 30-day readmission (OR 0.42, p < 0.001), and shorter hospitalizations (RR 0.79, p < 0.001).


Glioblastoma patients who travel farther to high-volume centers have superior post-operative outcomes compared to patients who receive treatment locally at low-volume centers. Strategies that facilitate patient travel to high-volume hospitals may improve outcomes.


Glioblastoma Travel distance Hospital volume Survival Outcomes 



The project described was partially supported by the National Institutes of Health, Pre-doctoral Grant TL1TR001443 awarded to MGB and RRS.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11060_2018_3022_MOESM1_ESM.tiff (82 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 81 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Lopez Ramos
    • 1
  • Michael G. Brandel
    • 1
  • Jeffrey A. Steinberg
    • 1
  • Arvin R. Wali
    • 1
  • Robert C. Rennert
    • 1
  • David R. Santiago-Dieppa
    • 1
  • Reith R. Sarkar
    • 2
  • J. Scott Pannell
    • 1
  • James D. Murphy
    • 2
  • Alexander A. Khalessi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied SciencesUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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