The global incidence of multiple myeloma (MM) is on the rise, according to data published in The Lancet Haematology.
The data showed an increasing incidence of MM particularly among men, people 50 years of age or older, and those from high-income countries.
The data also showed an overall decrease in MM mortality that was more evident in women than in men.
For this study, researchers used multiple databases to examine the worldwide incidence of MM and MM mortality.
The data suggested that, in 2020, the age-standardized rate (ASR) of MM incidence was 1.78 per 100,000 people globally, and the ASR for mortality was 1.14 per 100,000 people globally.
The incidence of MM was higher in men (ASR, 2.10) than in women (ASR, 1.47), and the rate of MM mortality was higher in men (ASR, 1.41) than in women (ASR, 0.93).
The regions with the highest incidence of MM were Australia and New Zealand (ASR, 4.86), northern America (ASR, 4.74), and northern Europe (ASR, 3.82). The regions with the lowest incidence were western Africa (ASR, 0.81), Melanesia (ASR, 0.87), and southeastern Asia (ASR, 0.96).
The regions with the highest MM mortality rates were Polynesia (ASR, 2.69), Australia and New Zealand (ASR, 1.84), northern Europe (ASR, 1.80), southern Africa (ASR, 1.79), and western Europe (ASR, 1.75). The regions with the lowest mortality rates were Micronesia (ASR, 0.37), western Africa (ASR, 0.71), Melanesia (ASR, 0.73), eastern Asia (ASR, 0.76), and southeastern Asia (ASR, 0.82).
Trends Over Time
The researchers analyzed data from 48 countries to assess trends over time. From 2001 to 2019, the incidence of MM increased, particularly among men, people 50 years of age or older, and those from high-income countries.
In men, the incidence of MM significantly increased in 8 countries. The countries with the highest increases were Turkey (average annual percent change [AAPC], 5.63; P =.020), Germany (AAPC, 4.58; P =.0073), and Denmark (AAPC, 3.77; P =.00057).
The countries with the highest incidence increase in men age 50 and older were Germany (AAPC, 6.71; P =.027), Denmark (AAPC, 3.93; P =.00027), and South Korea (AAPC, 3.25; P =.019).
In women, the incidence of MM significantly increased in 4 countries. The countries with the highest increases were Faroe Islands (AAPC, 26.08; P =.019), Denmark (AAPC, 3.81; P =.011), and the UK (AAPC, 1.91; P =.00022).
The countries with the highest increases in incidence among women age 50 and older were the Faroe Islands (AAPC, 21.01; P =.032), Denmark (AAPC, 4.70; P =.0068), and Israel (AAPC, 2.57; P =.012).
“The reasons for the increasing incidence trend of multiple myeloma remain uncertain and might be related to the improvement in early diagnosis and increasing prevalence of related risk factors,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers also found a decreasing trend in MM mortality from 2001 to 2019, and this was more evident in women than in men.
In men, MM mortality significantly increased in 7 countries and significantly decreased in 5 countries. The greatest increases were seen in Thailand (AAPC, 40.82; P <.0001), Ecuador (AAPC, 5.91; P =.034), and Croatia (AAPC, 5.38; P=.0045). The greatest decreases were seen in Finland (AAPC, –2.99; P =.034), Japan (AAPC, –2.55; P <.0001), and Norway (AAPC, –2.29; P =.0010).
In women, MM mortality significantly increased in 5 countries and significantly decreased in 7 countries. The greatest increases were seen in Thailand (AAPC, 47.37; P <.0001), Latvia (AAPC, 5.72; P =.020), and Bulgaria (AAPC, 5.71; P =.0057). The greatest decreases were seen in Sweden (AAPC, –4.65; P =.0025), Canada (AAPC, –2.17; P =.00029), and Japan (AAPC, –2.13; P =.00032).
“Mortality caused by multiple myeloma has decreased over the past decade, possibly because of the development of more advanced therapies,” the researchers wrote. “Nonetheless, the increases in mortality observed in some countries highlight the need for more research on the exploration of reasons behind the temporal trends and the epidemiology of different subtypes, so that insights on the cause and prognosis of multiple myeloma by subtypes can be provided.”
Huang J, Chan SC, Lok V, et al. The epidemiological landscape of multiple myeloma: A global cancer registry estimate of disease burden, risk factors, and temporal trends. Lancet Haematol. Published online July 14, 2022. doi:10.1016/S2352-3026(22)00165-X