Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

Does a Patient’s Race Affect Access to IV Bisphosphonates in Multiple Myeloma?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2021

A disparity in the administration of intravenous (IV) bisphosphonates appears to exist among patients with multiple myeloma aged 65 or older, according to research presented in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Gregory S. Calip, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues observed the most significant disparities occurring between patients who were White versus patients who were Black, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian and Pacific Islander.

The retrospective study included 14,231 patients (aged 65 or older) who had been diagnosed with first primary multiple myeloma between 2001 and 2011 and who could be located in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database. A total of 10,456 non-Hispanic White patients, 2,267 non-Hispanic Black patients, 548 Asian and Pacific Islander patients, and 815 Hispanic and Latino patients were included. At a median follow-up of 23.1 months, more than half of all patients (54%) had received one or more doses of IV bisphosphonates.

According to the study findings, White patients (56%) were more likely to initiate the treatment than were non-Hispanic Black patients (45%), Hispanic and Latino patients (50%), and Asian Pacific Islander patients (47%). Non-Hispanic Black patients experienced a shorter median treatment duration (267 days) than did White patients (294 days), Asian Pacific Islander patients (293.5 days), and Hispanic and Latino patients (282.5 days). Overall, IV bisphosphonates were administered to a higher percentage of White patients (56.1%) than non-Hispanic Black patients (45.4%).

“Further studies should evaluate patient preferences and identify barriers to timely initiation and adherence to IV bisphosphonate therapy guidelines to provide optimal supportive cancer care in patients with multiple myeloma,” concluded the authors.

Disclosures: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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