BMC Cancer. 2020 Aug 8;20(1):737. doi: 10.1186/s12885-020-07178-5.
BACKGROUND: Disparities in multiple myeloma (MM) prognosis based on sociodemographic factors may exist. We investigated whether education level at diagnosis influenced Chinese MM patient outcomes.
METHODS: We performed a multicenter retrospective analysis of data from 773 MM patients across 9 centers in China from 2006 to 2019. Sociodemographic and clinical factors at diagnosis and treatment regimens were recorded, and univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.
RESULTS: Overall, 69.2% of patients had low education levels. Patients with low education levels differed from those with high education levels in that they were more likely to be older, and a higher proportion lived in rural areas, were unemployed, had lower annual incomes and lacked insurance. Additionally, compared to patients with high education levels, patients with low education levels had a higher proportion of international staging system (ISS) stage III classification and elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels and underwent transplantation less often. Patients with high education levels had a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 67.50 (95% confidence interval (CI): 51.66-83.39) months, which was better than that of patients with low education levels (30.60 months, 95% CI: 27.38-33.82, p < 0.001). Similarly, patients with high education levels had a median overall survival (OS) of 122.27 (95% CI: 117.05-127.49) months, which was also better than that of patients with low education levels (58.83 months, 95% CI: 48.87-62.79, p < 0.001). In the multivariable analysis, patients with high education levels had lower relapse rates and higher survival rates than did those with low education level in terms of PFS and OS (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.50 [95% CI: 0.34-0.72], p < 0.001; HR = 0.32 [0.19-0.56], p < 0.001, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Low education levels may independently predict poor survival in MM patients in China.