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Prashant Kapoor, MD, FACP


ASCO Quality 2023: When Are Older Black and White Patients With Myeloma Initiating Therapy?

By: Joshua Swore, PhD
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2023

A study presented at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Care Symposium (Abstract 145) has found that Black patients with multiple myeloma appear to be less likely to initiate treatment within 12 months of diagnosis. “We have previously identified racial disparities in multiple myeloma treatment initiation within 12 months of diagnosis,” said Matthew Roger LeBlanc, PhD, RN, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, and colleagues. “This current study aimed to explore the extent to which Black/White disparities in multiple myeloma treatment initiation were explained by differences in the distribution of demographic and health characteristics.”

The study identified 1,649 Black and 9,017 White patients older than age 65 who were diagnosed with multiple myeloma from 2007 to 2017. All patients were linked with the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare program. The authors developed five regression models to identify covariates that may be associated with race and multiple myeloma treatment initiation. Covariates used in the models included race, age, sex, low-income status, poverty status, rurality, and SEER region.

According to the authors, all individual, area-level, and health characteristics were significantly different by race. Models revealed that sex and rurality alone were not associated with treatment initiation. Model one, which included race alone, found an 8.9% risk difference between Black and White patients. Model three, which included race, age, sex, low income, and poverty status, found a 4.7% risk difference between Black and White patients. When comorbidities and frailty were added to the model, the difference increased to 5.6%. The authors noted that covariates were able to explain some—but not all—of the racial disparities, which emphasized the need to identify unknown factors contributing to these inequalities between Black and White patients.

Disclosure: Dr. LeBlanc has served as a consultant or advisor to GlaxoSmithKline. For full disclosures of the other study authors, visit,

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