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Melissa Accordino, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY
Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO
Seeking to identify ways to reduce patient stress and anxiety.
A blood-based biomarker assay is evaluated for monitoring disease in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Information from this study will help to inform the delivery of cancer care and will guide evidence-based disease monitoring guidelines.
Patients living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) face many personal and health challenges due to their disease. MBC is incurable and so patients will be on treatment the rest of their lives. Part of the treatment involves frequent imaging to assess the tumor response to treatment or progress of disease. These frequent scans cause additional anxiety for patients that could be reduced if there were a less expensive and time-consuming means of tumor monitoring. Dr. Accordino is conducting a study in newly diagnosed MBC patients to determine whether measuring a tumor marker in blood could reduce the need for serial imaging.
Full Research Summary
Cancer care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. Many cancer patients are impacted by the increasing financial burden of expensive therapies and tests related to their cancer care. In addition, patients also face significant emotional distress associated with diagnostic testing to monitor their cancer. In fact, a recent term "scanxiety" has been coined to express patient reported anxiety related to radiographic imaging tests to monitor their disease.
Dr. Accordino's study aims to address these issues by using biomarkers in patient blood to guide the frequency of radiographic imaging. Specifically, they predict that biomarker-directed disease monitoring will be associated with lower healthcare costs, less patient reported anxiety, and better quality of life, without affecting survival.
This could lead to changes in the daily delivery of cancer care to patients with metastatic breast cancer and possibly lead to the reduction of unnecessary and costly testing, and will promote patient centered care.
Dr. Accordino has been at Columbia University Medical Center since 2012, when she began her Clinical Hematology/Oncology Fellowship. Since that time, she has worked on a number of research projects related to health outcomes, quality of cancer care, cancer care delivery, and cancer survivorship. She was awarded a Young Investigator Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for a project investigating an electronic educational alert to curb overuse of filgrastim in the setting of febrile neutropenia. She received a Merit Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO for a project describing patterns of serum tumor marker utilization in patients with advanced solid tumors seen within our ambulatory clinics.
She completed both her clinical fellowship and a post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Cancer Epidemiology and Outcomes on a NCI R25 training grant in 2015. After which, she was appointed as faculty at Columbia University as an Assistant Professor of Medicine within the Division of Hematology and Oncology. Since her faculty appointment she was awarded a Dr. Charles A. Coltman, Jr. Fellowship by the Hope Foundation and a Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO/Breast Cancer Research Foundation Career Development award for a project evaluating differences in costs and outcomes of different disease monitoring strategies in women with metastatic breast cancer. Dr. Accordino has a strong interest in improving the quality and safety of cancer care delivery.