Multiple Myeloma Cases and Deaths Increase Worldwide Interview with:

Andrew J. Cowan, MD Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Division of Medical Oncology University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Cowan

Andrew J. Cowan, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington, Seattle What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?


Response: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell neoplasm with substantial morbidity and mortality. A comprehensive description of the global burden of multiple myeloma is needed to help direct health policy, resource allocation, research, and patient care.

Myeloma cases and deaths increased from 1990 to 2016, with middle-income countries contributing the most to this increase. Treatment availability is very limited in countries with low socioeconomic development. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Incidence of multiple myeloma is highly variable among countries but has increased uniformly since 1990, with the largest increase in middle and low-middle SDI countries. Access to effective care is very limited in many countries of low socioeconomic development, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Global health policy priorities for multiple myeloma are to improve diagnostic and treatment capacity in low and middle income countries and to ensure affordability of effective medications for every patient. Research priorities are to determine underlying causative factors explaining the heterogeneity in myeloma incidence.

Disclosures: Dr. Cowan receives research funding from Janssen and Abbvie.


Cowan AJ, Allen C, Barac A, et al. Global Burden of Multiple MyelomaA Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. JAMA Oncol. Published online May 16, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2128  

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Last Updated on May 21, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD