The incidence of multiple myeloma (MM) is increasing worldwide, but the rate of increase is greatest in Asia. Few data describe the epidemiology and treatment of MM in Asia. Building on a cohort study from 2007 to 2012 using the Taiwan National Healthcare Insurance Research database, we extended our analysis to estimate the disease burden and treatment patterns of patients with MM in Taiwan through 2015. A further 1664 patients with newly diagnosed MM from 2013 to 2015 (total 4387 patients from 2007 to 2015) were enrolled and followed up until death or end of the observation period (December 31, 2016), whichever occurred first. The age distribution of the 2013–2015 cohort was similar to that for previous years, but there were fewer men (52.1% versus 58.0%), and more patients had renal impairment at diagnosis (19.7% versus 16.4%). From 2007 to 2015, crude annual incidences per 100,000 population of newly diagnosed MM increased from 1.74 to 2.48 and age-adjusted incidences from 1.41 to 1.65. Crude all-cause mortality rates increased over time. Case fatality decreased from 25.5 to 18.3% and median survival increased from 2.10 to 3.12 years. From 2007 to 2015, the percentage of patients receiving first-line therapy with novel agents increased from 0.4 to 89.4%, autologous stem cell transplantation doubled, and chemotherapy use decreased by 81%. Comprehensive national data covering 9 years of follow-up demonstrate continuing change in the disease burden, treatment, and survival of MM in Taiwan. Despite increased use of new treatments, MM remains largely incurable.
- Multiple myeloma
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