Study Highlights Global Burden of Multiple Myeloma, Access to Treatments

From 1990 to 2016, incident cases and deaths from multiple myeloma have grown substantially.

Over the last decade, treatments for multiple myeloma (MM) have improved substantially with the disease transforming from untreatable to treatable with mostly outpatient therapy; however, MM is still not curable, and there has been a significant increase in both deaths and incident cases.

A new study in JAMA Oncology

analyzed the burden of MM around the world, by country, how the burden has changed, and how widely available treatments are. The researchers used vital registration system and cancer registry data to estimate mortality, as well as drug availability and survey data for stem cell transplant rates.

“Despite improvements in the care of patients with myeloma, these advances have largely delivered better outcomes to patients in high-income countries," the authors wrote. "In many [low- and middle-income countries], delivery of cancer care is often hindered by lack of access to general and specialized health care, diagnostics, and advanced treatments, like novel agents, radiation oncology, and stem cell transplantation, leading to poor outcomes.”

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