Palliative RT Underused in African American Patients with Multiple Myeloma

African American (AA) patients with multiple myeloma (MM) were less likely to receive palliative radiotherapy within 12 months of diagnosis and at end of life, according to an abstract from 2021 American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting.

MM has a natural disease course that includes painful osseous lesions that are “amenable to palliative radiotherapy (RT)”, according to the abstract. Previous research has shown that racial disparities exist in the definitive treatment of MM and pain management in the AA community.

In this study, researchers looked at possible racial disparities in the use of palliative radiotherapy for MM. They used data on 23,728 patients with MM from the National Cancer Database. All patients were diagnosed from 2004 to 2016 and received radiation.

Of the patients that received palliative radiotherapy within 12 months of diagnosis, 15.5% were non-Hispanic White, 14.3% were African American, 15.8% were Hispanic, and 14.4% were of other racial/ethnic groups.

The odds of receiving radiotherapy were 13% less for African American patients compared with non-Hispanic Whites (odds ratio[OR] = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.83 to 0.90; P < 0.0001). Of those who received radiation, the odds of dying within 30 days of radiotherapy were 18% less for African Americans compared with non-Hispanic Whites (OR = 0.82; 95% CI, 0.67 to 1.00); P = 0.46).