Study Examines Trends in Mortality Rates of Multiple Myeloma in US Adults

The United States is becoming older, more diverse, and more overweight, and these changes may influence future trends in certain hematological cancers.

A recent study examining trends in incidence rates for multiple myeloma found that rates increased for non‐Hispanic White men and were stable for men in other racial/ethnic groups, as well as for women in all groups.

Writing in Cancer Medicine, the authors, who are CDC researchers, noted that although multiple myeloma is primarily a disease of the elderly, with a median age of onset at 74 years, a previous study found an increasing incidence in younger adults between 25 and 49 years from 1995 to 2014. In addition, another previous study found a higher rate among Black individuals compared with Whites.

There is also increasing concern about rising obesity levels in the United States, and multiple myeloma is 1 of 13 cancers linked to being overweight, the authors noted.

For the current study, they used population‐based incidence data for the years 2003 to 2016 for adults 20 years and older from the US Cancer Statistics (USCS), which combines the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program data sets.

They analyzed incidence and death rates by site (solitary plasmacytoma, extramedullary plasmacytoma, and multiple myeloma) by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and rural‐urban status.

Trends were characterized as average annual percentage change (AAPC) in rates.

Results showed:

  • Overall incidence rates per 100,000 persons of 0.45 for solitary plasmacytoma, 0.09 for extramedullary plasmacytoma, and 8.47 for multiple myeloma.
  • By race, an increase in multiple myeloma incidence rates for non‐Hispanic whites (AAPC, 1.78%) and non‐Hispanic Blacks (2.98%) aged 20 to 49 years; for the group aged 50 to 59 years, 1.17% and 1.24%, respectively; and for the group aged 60 to 69 years, 0.91% and 0.96%.
  • An overall myeloma death rate (which includes extramedullary plasmacytoma and multiple myeloma) of 4.77 per 100,000 persons.
  • By race and gender, a drop in myeloma death rates for non‐Hispanic white (AAPC, −1.23%) and Hispanic (−1.34%) women and non‐Hispanic white (−0.74%) and non‐Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (−3.05%) men.

While new therapies introduced over the past 20 years have improved patient outcomes in multiple myeloma, the authors noted that US demographic changes are expected to translate to a 65% increase in cases for men and a 61% increase in cases for women by 2032 to 2034.


Ellington TD, Henley SJ, Wilson RJ, Wu M, Richardson LC. Trends in solitary plasmacytoma, extramedullary plasmacytoma, and plasma cell myeloma incidence and myeloma mortality by racial‐ethnic group, United States 2003‐2016. Cancer Med. Published online December 3, 2020. doi:10.1002/cam4.3444