THURSDAY, Oct. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Different racial/ethnic groups with multiple myeloma (MM) have significant variations in novel therapy and autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) use, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in Blood Advances.

Sikander Ailawadhi, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic Florida in Jacksonville, and colleagues examined racial disparities in treatment and outcomes among white, African-American, and Hispanic patients with MM. Data were included for MM patients from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare database for 2007 to 2013: 3,504 white patients, 858 African-American patients, and 468 Hispanic patients.

The researchers found that compared with whites, African-Americans and Hispanics had a longer time from MM diagnosis to novel therapy initiation (median, 5.2 and 4.6 months, respectively, versus 2.7 months). An increasing trend of novel therapy initiation within six months of MM diagnosis was seen for all cohorts, especially whites. Significantly longer median MM-specific survival was seen for African-Americans versus whites (5.4 versus 4.5 years) and was comparable for Hispanics and whites. Similar median overall survival was seen (2.6 to 2.8 years). Within one year of diagnosis, there was an increase in the ASCT rate among whites and African-Americans, but not Hispanics.

“Addressing these disparities could lead to more equitable health care utilization and clinical benefit for all patients with MM, regardless of race/ethnicity, and address the trend of increasing differences in treatment access, health care costs, and outcomes between these groups,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including Celgene Corporation, which partially funded the study.

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