Obesity Linked to Increased Risk of Multiple Myeloma Mortality in African Americans


Key Points

  • Overall, risk for multiple myeloma mortality increased with increasing body mass index.
  • Increased risk was nonsignificant among women and men separately.

Obesity may be associated with an increased risk for death from multiple myeloma in African Americans, according to a study reported by Sonderman et al in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Multiple myeloma incidence and mortality rates have been reported to be twice as high among African Americans as whites among both women and men, and the prevalence of obesity is reported to be higher among African Americans.

Study Details

The study involved data from 7 prospective cohorts following mortality among 239,597 African American adults. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for death due to multiple myeloma according to body mass index (BMI) at cohort entry, with adjustment for age and sex.


Compared with individuals with normal BMIs (18.5–25 kg/m2), multiple myeloma mortality increased monotonically as BMI increased. Among all individuals, hazard ratios were 1.07 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.86–1.33) for a BMI of 25 to < 30 kg/m2, 1.14 (95% CI = 0.87–1.49) for a BMI of 30 to < 35 kg/m2, and 1.43 (95% CI = 1.03–1.97) for a BMI of 35 to < 60 kg/m2 (P = .04 for trend). Among women, hazard ratios for these BMI categories were 1.05 (95% CI = 0.79–1.40), 1.10 (95% CI = 0.79–1.55), and 1.32 (95% CI = 0.90–1.94; P = .17 for trend). Among men, hazard ratios for these BMI categories were 1.10 (95% CI = 0.78–1.53), 1.22 (95% CI = 0.79–1.89), and 1.80 (95% CI = 0.97–3.31; P = .09 for trend).

The investigators concluded: “The findings suggest that obesity is a risk factor for [multiple myeloma] and a contributor to the elevated rates and rising incidence trends of [multiple myeloma] among [African Americans] in the United States.”

The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute.

William J. Blot, PhD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is the corresponding author of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute article.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.