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Sociodemographic associations with uptake of novel therapies for acute myeloid leukemia


January 2024


Hantel, A., Cernik, C., Uno, H. et al. Sociodemographic associations with uptake of novel therapies for acute myeloid leukemia. Blood Cancer J. 13, 192 (2023). 

Our summary

The FDA’s approval of eight new acute myeloid leukemia (AML) therapies since 2015 has elevated the 5-year survival rate beyond 30%, but not everyone shares in these gains. Non-hispanic black and Hispanic individuals face 27% and 13% higher death rates, while older adults and those with lower SES see 5-year survival rates below 10%.

Factors contributing to these disparities include pathophysiologic elements, treatment-related toxicity, and structural barriers possibly influenced by structural racism. Despite efforts, understanding the perpetuation of outcome differences remains challenging. 

A crucial yet understudied aspect is the post-FDA approval diffusion of novel AML therapies. Previous evidence suggests delayed uptake among racialized minorities and older adults in other medical areas. This study investigates sociodemographic disparities in assessing FDA-approved AML therapies, positing lower access for older adults, people of color, and lower SES individuals in the initial post-approval years. This research aims to reveal and address these potential disparities, offering vital insights to rectify healthcare inequalities.

Why this matters

This study significantly contributes to our understanding of AML treatment, offering unexpected insights that challenge prevailing assumptions. It highlights that older adults and people of color, particularly when inclusively defined with Hispanic ethnicity, exhibit comparable rates of novel therapy use. This prompts a reassessment of age and race-related disparities in AML care. 

Moreover, the study unveils disparities in smaller practices, impacting under-resourced communities seeking AML treatment. These observations emphasize the need for interventions that ensure equal access to novel therapies post-FDA approval. In summary, the study prompts a critical reconsideration of current practices, emphasizing the importance of equitable diffusion to improve outcomes for all individuals affected by AML.

Read the research