A study published in Blood Advances found that a gene linked to multiple myeloma (MM) prognosis is expressed less frequently in African American patients compared with white patients. However, del17p expression seemed to similarly impact survival outcomes between African American versus white patients.
The investigators utilized the Veterans Affairs database to evaluate the presence of the gene del(17)p among African American and white patients with MM, and any association with outcomes.
“MM is a heterogeneous disease featured by an increased incidence in African Americans. We have previously observed that with equal access to healthcare, younger African American (age <65 years) patients have superior overall survival (OS) than white patients,” wrote the authors.
In total, 2,243 patients with del17p data were included. Self-reported race information was available for 2,049 patients, of whom 36% were African American, 64% were white, and 10% were Hispanic or Latino. African American patients tended to be younger (<65 years) compared to white patients (P<0.001). The researchers did not find racial disparities in the use of novel agents or stem cell transplantation.
The overall rate of del17p expression was 8.83%. The researchers noted a significantly lower prevalence among African American patients compared to white patients (5.56% versus 10.52%; P<0.001), which was further pronounced among younger patients (4.34% versus 9.8%; P=0.004).
For patients with del17p expression, the researchers found no significant differences in survival between African American versus white patients on the basis of age, “suggesting that del17p carries a poor prognosis across race and age.”
The authors commented, “Interestingly, among patients without del17p, we still noted a significantly superior overall survival in younger African Americans as compared to white [patients] (7.75 vs. 5.10 years; P=0.042).”
In conclusion, the authors wrote, “Our study shows a lower incidence of del17p in African Americans but suggests that the survival advantage for younger African Americans is primarily due to factors other than del17p.”