The incidence of multiple myeloma (MM) is known to be variable according to ethnicity. However, the differences in clinical characteristics between ethnic groups are not well-defined. In Asian countries, although the incidence of MM has been lower than that of Western countries, there is growing evidence that MM is increasing rapidly. The Asian Myeloma Network decided to initiate the first multinational project to describe the clinical characteristics of MM and the clinical practices in Asia. Data were retrospectively collected from 23 centers in 7 countries and regions. The clinical characteristics at diagnosis, survival rates and initial treatment of 3,405 symptomatic MM patients were described. Median age was 62 years (range, 19-106), with 55.6% of being male. Median overall survival (OS) was 47 months (95% CI 44.0-50.0). Stem cell transplantation was performed in 666 patients who showed better survival rates (79 vs. 41 months, P<0.001). The first-line treatments of 2,970 patients were analyzed. The overall response rate was 71% including very good partial response or better in 31% of the 2,660 patients those were able to be evaluated. New drugs including bortezomib, thalidomide, and lenalidomide were used in 36% of 2,970 patients and affected OS when used as a first-line treatment. Am. J. Hematol. 89:751-756, 2014.
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