What do myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients need to know about disparities in stem cell transplant outcomes? Expert Dr. Idoroenyi Amanam from City of Hope explains key factors that impact the outcomes of stem cell transplants and the importance of finding fully matched donors.
Dr. Amanam, does race or ethnicity play a role in outcomes of stem cell transplantation?
Dr. Indoroenyi Amanam:
Yes. There have been some really great studies looking at this. And I think in general, we know that health disparities are a major issue for racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disadvantaged groups. Stem cell transplant is a curative therapy for blood disorders. And we’ve looked at a variety of different, there have been multiple approaches to assess like where these disparities come from or if there are disparities from specific groups. And I think the Affordable Care Act was great in allowing expansion and insurance coverage to multiple groups and increased access to care. But that hasn’t solved the problem.
And so, one of the issues we’ve seen is that providers themselves do not refer patients proportionately. So from proportion if you’re African American, Hispanic, if you are coming from a ZIP code that your meaning income is lower, that there are some instances where referrals for transplant don’t occur in equal rates.
And we’ve also seen that even if you’re insured and you’re African American or Hispanic, referral rates are still lower. And so that’s something that, it’s something that we have to work to improve. And you know, one big thing for transplant is that you have to have donors. You have to have donors who are matches for these patients who have these disorders who need a transplant. And we do know that African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians have lower chances of finding a fully matched donor compared to white Americans. And so, why that’s really important is that when you look at rates of complications after transplant, we do know that the level of match of the donor does play a part in that. Namely the chances of the patient relapsing after the bone marrow transplant and the rates of graft-versus-host disease are significantly higher.