Multiple Myeloma in African Americans: Understanding Differences in Incidence and Treatment

Join us for a FREE webinar November 7, 2018, at 1:00 pm EST, designed to meet the educational needs of multiple myeloma patients and their caregivers.

Multiple Myeloma is a rare and incurable cancer of a person’s white plasma cells, the cells that fight infection and disease, and it can permanently weaken bones and damage organs.

African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age. African Americans, on average, are diagnosed around 66 years old, while white Americans are around age 70.

Multiple Myeloma is twice as common in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans—and twice as deadly. African Americans also have a high incidence of conditions that are associated with the development of myeloma. Despite significant advances in myeloma treatment—including new therapeutic agents and the use of stem cell transplantation—survival rates have not improved for African American myeloma patients relative to other patient populations.

Analysis of samples collected in CoMMpass, the MMRF’s myeloma research study, revealed significant differences in key cancer genes between African American and Caucasian myeloma patients. These results show that African American myeloma patients actually have a lower-risk genetic profile and thus should achieve treatment results equal to—or even better than—those seen in other myeloma patient populations. But barriers to appropriate treatment and lack of awareness of the disease (on the part of both patients and community health care providers) contribute to treatment approaches that may be less effective than other currently available management strategies.

To overcome these barriers, African American myeloma patients need to have