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Background: Africans have an increased risk for multiple myeloma (MM) compared to other races. Reports from Africa are few and involve small cohorts, but suggest significant epidemiological and clinical differences from Caucasian patients.
Objective: This report describes the clinic-pathological features of MM patients in Ghana at diagnosis, and the factors affecting their survival.
Methods: A retrospective review of 169 MM cases diagnosed in a Ghanaian tertiary hospital from 2002-2016.
Results: Median age was 58 years, with 29% ≤50 years. One-third presented >12 months after onset of symptoms, which included bone pain (96%), anaemia (67%), weight loss (55%) and fractures (44%). Myeloma-related tissue impairment included hypercalcaemia (36%), renal impairment (33%), severe anaemia (52%) and osteolytic lesions (76%); 51.3% of patients were diagnosed in ISS Stage III. Median survival was 33 months; 1-year and 5-year overall survival were 51.6% and 15.5%, respectively. Neither the age at diagnosis nor the duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis correlated with prognosis. Median survival improved with early ISS stage, haemoglobin >8g/dL, plasmacytosis <20%, and normal creatinine and calcium levels.
Conclusion: Early onset and late stage presentation are common at diagnosis of MM patients in Ghana, but do not affect survival. Studies into genetic associations are recommended.
Keywords: Multiple Myeloma, Ghana, Africa, survival, presentation