Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

Study Finds Racial Disparities in Treatment Patterns Among Patients With Multiple Myeloma

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Monday, December 2, 2019

According to results published in the journal Blood Advances, African American and Hispanic patients with multiple myeloma tended to receive novel therapies later than their white counterparts, thus hindering their ability to receive the same benefits despite similar overall survival rates. Sikander Ailawadhi, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Florida, and colleagues, indicated that more research is needed to fully understand these differences.

“While future research is needed to investigate possible causes for the observed racial disparities, we hope that understanding and addressing them will lead to more equitable health-care access, cost, and outcome profiles for all multiple myeloma patients, regardless of race or ethnicity,” Dr. Ailawadhi commented in a press release from the American Society of Hematology.

A total of 4,830 patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare (2007–2013) database were analyzed. Specifically, the time between multiple myeloma diagnosis and novel therapy and autologous stem cell transplant, overall survival, and multiple myeloma–specific survival were examined. Of the total, 3,504 patients were white, 858 were African American, and 468 were Hispanic. The African American and Hispanic groups were younger than the white group. As for marital status, the African American cohort had fewer married patients than did the white cohort (25.8% vs. 52.7%), as did the Hispanic cohort (46.6%).

The amount of time from diagnosis to the start of novel therapy (immunomodulatory drugs such as lenalidomide, and/or proteasome inhibitors such as bortezomib and carfilzomib) was 5.2 months for African American patients, 4.6 months for Hispanic patients, and 2.7 months for white patients. The median overall survival was between 2.6 and 2.8 years for all patients. The autologous stem cell transplant rate within 1 year of diagnosis increased for white and African American patients but not for Hispanic patients.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information can be found at

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