Sociodemographic Factors Influence Disparities in Outcomes for Patients With MM Globally

By Cailin Conner - Last Updated: September 1, 2023

According to a systematic analysis on health disparities in patients with multiple myeloma (MM), worse patient outcomes were linked to increasing age and low socioeconomic status. Results from the analysis were published in the Blood Cancer Journal.

While advances in treatment have improved outcomes for patients with MM, disparities in diagnosis, access to treatment, and patient outcomes persist across different populations. Understanding the influence of sociodemographic factors on these disparities is crucial to addressing the inequalities in MM care. In this study, researchers conducted a systematic analysis to “to highlight the impact of different sociodemographic factors on outcomes in patients with MM.”

The researchers performed a comprehensive search of PubMed and Embase databases for articles published between 2011 and 2021. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied during the screening process of article titles, abstracts, and full texts. The sociodemographic factors examined in the analysis included age, sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. The outcomes assessed were diagnosis, access to treatment, and patient outcomes.

After screening, 84 articles were included in the analysis, and 48 of those articles were based on studies conducted in the United States. The results indicated that, worldwide, increasing age and low socioeconomic status were associated with worse patient outcomes.

“In the [United States],” the authors wrote, “men typically had worse outcomes than women, although women had poorer access to treatment, as did Black, Asian, and Hispanic patients.” However, outside the United States, no consistent disparities related to sex were observed, and for most factors and outcomes, no consistent disparities could be identified globally. It is worth noting that an insufficient number of studies examined disparities in diagnosis, limiting the ability to draw firm conclusions.

According to the authors, this study represents the first systematic analysis of health disparities in patients with MM, shedding light on specific populations that are disproportionately affected.

The researchers concluded their analysis by stating, “Acknowledging and addressing the causes and effects of disparities in patient outcomes may help to develop novel treatments or treatment strategies for MM, for instance through the enrollment of more diverse and representative patient populations in clinical trials, and to improve access to treatment and treatment facilities in the real world.”

Source: Blood Cancer Journal

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