Background: Population-based studies suggest that patients with multiple myeloma (MM) have better outcomes when treated at high-volume facilities, but the relative contribution of provider expertise and hospital resources to improved outcomes is unknown. This study explored how treating facility, individual provider volume, and patient-sharing between MM specialists and community providers influenced outcomes for patients with MM. Patients and Methods: A state cancer registry linked to public and private insurance claims was used to identify a cohort of patients diagnosed with MM in 2006 through 2012. Three multivariable Cox models were used to examine how the following factors impacted overall survival: (1) evaluation at an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center (NCICCC), (2) the primary oncologist’s volume of patients with MM, and (3) patient-sharing between MM specialists and community oncologists. Results: A total of 1,029 patients diagnosed with MM in 2006 through 2012 were identified. Patients who were not evaluated at an NCICCC had an increased risk of mortality compared with those evaluated at an NCICCC (hazard ratio [HR], 1.50; 95% CI, 1.21–1.86; P<.001). Compared with patients treated by NCICCC MM specialists, those treated by both low-volume community providers (HR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.14–1.90; P<.01) and high-volume community providers (HR, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.04–1.61; P<.05) had a higher risk of mortality. No difference in mortality was seen between patients treated by NCICCC MM specialists and those treated by the highest-volume community oncologists in the ninth and tenth deciles (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.84–1.37; P=.5591). Patients treated by community oncologists had a higher risk of mortality regardless of patient-sharing compared with patients treated by MM specialists (eg, community oncologist with a history of sharing vs NCICCC MM specialist: HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.10–2.02; P<.05). Conclusions: Findings of this study add to the accumulating evidence showing that patients with MM benefit from care at high-volume facilities, and suggest that similar outcomes can be achieved by the highest-volume providers in the community.
Submitted August 24, 2018; accepted for publication March 25, 2019.
Author contributions: Study concept: Freeman, Trogdon, Baggett, Tuchman, Shea, Wood. Acquisition of funding: Freeman, Wood. Data curation and analysis: Kuo, Zhou. Methodology: Trogdon, Baggett. Drafting of manuscript: Freeman. Review and editing of manuscript: Freeman, Kuo, Trogdon, Baggett, Tuchman, Shea, Wood.
Disclosures: The authors have disclosed that they have not received any financial considerations from any person or organization to support the preparation, analysis, results, or discussion of this article.
Funding: This research was supported by a grant from the University Cancer Research Fund.