Currently Viewing:
Currently Reading
Blood Clots in MPN Related to Higher Cost, Length of Stay for Patients With MPN
August 17, 2019 – AJMC Staff
FDA Panel Backs Use of Descovy for HIV Prevention in Men, Transgender Women
August 16, 2019 – Jaime Rosenberg
Researcher Excited About Future of Psoriasis Treatment
August 16, 2019 – Allison Inserro
This Week in Managed Care: August 16, 2019
August 16, 2019
AJMC® in the Press, August 16, 2019
August 16, 2019 – AJMC Staff
Pediatric Leukemia Treatment Linked to Increased Risk of Infections, Study Finds
August 16, 2019 – Alison Rodriguez
5 Findings From the August 2019 Issue of AJMC®
August 16, 2019 – Christina Mattina
Treatment for Parental Tobacco Use Shown to Be Significantly Effective in a Pediatric Setting, Study Shows
August 16, 2019 – Matthew Gavidia
What We're Reading: Generic Pricing Probe; EpiPen Coverage; Mass. Insurers to Merge
August 16, 2019 – AJMC Staff

Three Genetic Types Drive Higher Prevalence of MM in African Americans

Laura Joszt
Multiple myeloma (MM) occurs 2 to 3 times more frequently in Americans of African descent than in Americans of European descent, and a new study has identified 3 gene types that account for this disparity.
Multiple myeloma (MM) occurs 2 to 3 times more frequently in Americans of African descent than in Americans of European descent, and a new study1 has identified 3 gene types that account for this disparity.

The paper, published in Blood Cancer Journal, demonstrated that the disparity is largely driven by disparities in the occurrence of the t(11;14), t(14;16), and t(14;20) subtypes of MM.

“We sought to identify the mechanisms of this health disparity to help us better understand why myeloma occurs in the first place and provide insight into the best forms of therapy,” Vincent Rajkumar, MD, a hematologist at Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study, said in a statement.

The researchers studied 881 patients with monoclonal gammopathies. While previous research into disparities in prevalence of disease have relied on self-reported race, this study identified the ancestry of patients through DNA sequencing. Self-reported race can result in bias, but the DNA sequencing allowed researchers to determine ancestry more accurately, Rajkumar said.

In the entire cohort, the media African ancestry was 2.3%, the median European ancestry was 64.7%, and the median Northern European ancestry was 26.6%. To better observe differences in the prevalence of MM subtypes, the authors separated the cohort into the most extreme populations with regard to African ancestry.

“Although many individuals in the US are of mixed ancestry, ancestral characterization of patient cohorts is required to fully understand how the role of human genetic variation associated with ancestry impacts health disparities,” the authors wrote.

They found that the probability of having 1 of the 3 subtypes associated with higher risk of MM was significantly higher in the 120 individuals who had at least 80% African ancestry compared with the 235 individuals who had less than 0.1% African ancestry.

Previous research2 has shown that despite being more likely to be diagnosed with MM, African Americans are underrepresented in MM disease research. As a result, improved overall survival for MM has largely been observed in Caucasian patients.

“There are efforts to enroll more minorities in clinical studies, and this is important,” Rajkumar said. “However, it is equally, if not more important, to determine the mechanisms of racial disparities in terms of why cancers occur more often in certain racial groups. Our findings provide important information that will help us determine the mechanism by which myeloma is more common in African Americans, as well as help us in our quest to find out what causes myeloma in the first place.”


1. Baugh LB, Pearce K, Larson D, et al. Differences in genomic abnormalities among African individuals with monoclonal gammopathies using calculated ancestry. Blood Cancer J. 2018;8:96. doi: 10.1038/s41408-018-0132-1.

2. Manoklovic A, Christofferson A, Liang WS, et al. Comprehensive molecular profiling of 718 multiple myelomas reveals significant differences in mutation frequencies between African and European descent cases. 2017;13(11):e1007087. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007087.

Related Articles

NCI-Funded Study Hopes to Unveil Disparity Among African American Cancer Survivors
Racial Disparities in Health-Related Quality of Life for Patients With Colorectal Cancer
Race, Socioeconomic Status Linked to Rehospitalizations Among Patients With Advanced Cancer
African Americans Are More Likely to Have MM, but Are Underrepresented in Research
Racial Disparities Prevalent in Survival of Patients With Ovarian, Colon, and Breast Cancer
Copyright AJMC 2006-2019 Clinical Care Targeted Communications Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Welcome the the new and improved, the premier managed market network. Tell us about yourself so that we can serve you better.
Sign Up