From the Journals

Age and race affect access to myeloma treatment



Older patients, African Americans, and individuals of low socioeconomic status may be less likely to receive systemic treatment for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, results of a recent study suggest.

Comorbidities and poor performance indicators also reduced the likelihood of receiving first-line treatment, according to results of the retrospective cohort study published in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma & Leukemia.

The findings highlight the need for a “multifaceted approach” to address outcome disparities in multiple myeloma, according to researcher Bita Fakhri, MD, MPH, of the division of oncology at Washington University, St. Louis, and her coinvestigators.

“Particular attention to aging-related issues is essential to ensure older patients will benefit from the advances achieved in the field, similar to young patients,” the investigators wrote.

Racial and socioeconomic barriers should also be addressed, they added.

The retrospective cohort analysis included data on 3,814 patients with active multiple myeloma in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare database from 2007 to 2011. Investigators found that overall, 1,445 patients (38%) had no insurance claims confirming that they had received systemic treatment.

Older age increased the odds of not receiving treatment, with the likelihood increasing by 7% for each year of advancing age (adjusted odds ratio, 1.07; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.08). Likewise, African American patients were 26% more likely to have had no treatment (aOR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.03-1.54), and patients who were enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare – a proxy for lower income – had a 21% increased odds of no treatment (aOR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.02-1.42).

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