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Multiple myeloma primarily affects older adults. Yet, this population is less likely to participate in clinical trials and is thus less likely to benefit from treatment advances. This study, published in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology, focuses on the treatment and outcome differences experienced by younger adults and older adults with multiple myeloma.  

The study included 8,841 adults with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who were identified using linked provincial administrative databases between 2007 and 2017 in Ontario, Canada. Participants were grouped into two cohorts based on age: 65 and younger and older than 65. The researchers studied participant rates of no treatment, novel drug treatment, and autologous stem cell transplant usage within one year following diagnosis. They also examined associated early mortality. 

Ultimately, it was found that rates of no treatment remained high among the older participants despite improvements made in this area. Moreover, early mortality remained high and stagnant for older participants despite increased novel drug use. Early mortality did decrease, however, among older participants who underwent autologous stem cell transplant. Younger adults enjoyed increased usage in all treatment areas and decreased early mortality with novel drug use. 

The researchers concluded that despite treatment advances for multiple myeloma, overall outcomes for older patients have not improved as they have for younger patients with the disease. A call to action is made to better connect older adults with multiple myeloma with appropriate and timely treatment [1].


[1] Mian, H. S., Seow, H., Wildes, T. M., Kouroukis, C. T., Pond, G. R., Sivapathasundaram, B., & Sussman, J. (2021). Disparities in treatment patterns and outcomes among younger and older adults with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma: a population-based study. Journal of Geriatric Oncology, 12(4), 508–514. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jgo.2020.10.009

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