The burden of multiple myeloma (MM), a blood cancer of the white blood cells known as plasma cells, is expected to grow across some of the world’s major markets by 2027, most notably in the US and urban China, according to a forecast by GlobalData.

Multiple myeloma incidence

Epidemiologists believe there will be an increase in the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of MM in the eight major markets. These include the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Japan, and Urban China.

Diagnosed prevalent cases of MM, both sexes, ages (greater than or equal to) 40 years, 2017 and 2027

Source: GlobalData Note: 5EU = France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK; 8MM = US, 5EU, Japan and Urban China.

Although MM is a rare disease, it is the second most common hematologic malignancy. Healthy plasma cells help fight infections by making antibodies that recognise and attack germs. In the pathological state, cancer cells accumulate in the bone marrow. Rather than producing helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that cause complications.

MM is most commonly seen in patients aged 40 years and above but the disease can begin at any age. Symptoms can vary between people and there may be none present in the early stages. Common symptoms of MM include bone pain, nausea and constipation.

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The US and Urban China

In the 8MM, GlobalData epidemiologists forecast that the diagnosed prevalent cases of MM will increase from 354,000 cases to 555,000 at an annual growth rate (AGR) of 5.69%. In 2017, the US accounted for 40% of the diagnosed prevalent cases of MM in the 8MM, with 142,000 diagnosed prevalent cases.

Urban China is expected to see the largest growth in MM diagnosed prevalent cases, from 62,000 cases in 2017 to 128,000 cases in 2027, at an AGR of 10%. The risk of developing multiple myeloma increases with age.

Less than 1% of cases are diagnosed in people younger than 35 and the majority of people diagnosed with this cancer are at least 65 years old. With an overall growing population and an increase in the ageing population, the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of MM is expected to spike.