Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

Trends in Myeloma by Age: Treatment and Outcome Disparities Explored

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2020

Jonathan Sussman, MD, of McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a population-based study to examine the disparities in treatment patterns and outcomes among younger and older adults with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. The analysis results, which were published in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology, suggested the rates of no treatment and early mortality remain a concern in the older patient population.

“Multiple myeloma, a cancer of older adults, has seen significant improvement in therapeutic options over the past 2 decades,” the investigators commented. “Uncovering disparities in treatment patterns and outcomes is imperative in order to ensure older adults, who are underrepresented in clinical trials, are benefitting from these advances.”

Between 2007 and 2017, the investigators identified a total of 8,841 adults with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. The rates of no treatment, novel drug and autologous stem cell transplant usage, and early mortality were evaluated in adults both older and younger than age 65. 

During the study period, the rates of no treatment seemed to decrease in both age groups; however, according to the investigators, the rate remained considerably high among older patients (from 34.9% in 2007 to 27.4% in 2017). Untreated older patients experienced a 54.1% mortality rate at 1 year. The 1-year mortality rate decreased among younger patients utilizing novel drugs (16.1% to 5.6%) but remained high and stagnant in their older counterparts (18.2%). The rates of autologous stem cell transplantation seemed to increase in both age groups during the study period. Older patients who underwent autologous stem cell transplantation appeared to experience a decreased early mortality rate (from 26.3% in 2007 to 1.1% in 2017).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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