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Prashant Kapoor, MD, FACP


A Global Evaluation of Multiple Myeloma: Incidence, Mortality, and Risk Factors

By: Cordi Craig, MS
Posted: Friday, August 12, 2022

In 2020, multiple myeloma accounted for about 14% of cases of hematologic malignancies, including leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Martin C.S. Wong, MD, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and colleagues evaluated the geographic distribution, risk factors, and epidemiologic trends to identify high-risk population groups worldwide. The results of the study, published in The Lancet Haematology, indicated higher incidences and mortality rates among men and in countries with a higher human development index.

Using the Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, World Health Organization mortality database, Nordic Cancer Registries, and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, the study authors evaluated the incidence and mortality of multiple myeloma around the world. The research also examined associated risk factors and temporal trends of multiple myeloma by sex, age, and geographic region.

Globally, there was an increasing trend of multiple myeloma incidence, particularly among men older than 50. An overall decreasing global trend in mortality was reported; however, men had higher mortality rates than women. Higher rates of incidence and mortality were associated with a higher human development index, gross domestic product, and lifestyle factors (eg, physical inactivity, overweight, obesity, and diabetes). Geographically, the highest incidence rates were reported in Australia and New Zealand, northern America, and northern Europe. The highest mortality rates were also reported in Australia and New Zealand, northern Europe, and Polynesia. Western Africa, Melanesia, and southeastern Asia reported the lowest incidence rates of multiple myeloma, and similarly, the lowest mortality rates were reported in southeastern Asia, eastern Asia, and Melanesia.

“Lifestyle habits, diagnosis capacity, and treatment availability should be improved to control the increasing trends of multiple myeloma in high-risk populations,” the study authors concluded. “Future studies should explore the reasons behind these epidemiological transitions.”

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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