Picture of Emily Merfeld

Emily Merfeld, MD

Radiation Oncology Resident

Department of Human Oncology


Intern, University of Wisconsin–Madison, (2019)

MD, Washington University School of Medicine, (2018)

BS, University of Iowa, Biology (2014)

Selected Honors and Awards

American Medical Women’s Association Glasgow-Rubin Citation for Academic Achievement Award (2018)

Dr. John Esben Kirk Scholastic Award, Washington University School of Medicine (2018)

Alpha Omega Alpha, Washington University School of Medicine (2017)

Robert Carter Medical School Prize, Washington University School of Medicine (2017)

T35 NIH NHLBI Training Grant (2015)

Presidential Scholarship, University of Iowa (2010-2014)

National Merit Semifinalist (2009)

Boards, Advisory Committees and Professional Organizations

American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO) Resident Committee, Webinars Chair

American Assocation of Women in Radiology (AAWR), Radiation Oncology Representative

  • Predictors of Locoregional Recurrence After Failure to Achieve Pathologic Complete Response to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN
    Gabani P, Merfeld E, Srivastava AJ, Weiner AA, Ochoa LL, Mullen D, Thomas MA, Margenthaler JA, Cyr AE, Peterson LL, Naughton MJ, Ma C, Zoberi I
    2019 Apr 1;17(4):348-356. doi: 10.6004/jnccn.2018.7103.
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      BACKGROUND: This study evaluated factors predictive of locoregional recurrence (LRR) in women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy who do not experience pathologic complete response (pCR).

      METHODS: This is a single-institution retrospective review of women with TNBC treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy in 2000 through 2013. LRR was estimated between patients with and without pCR using the Kaplan-Meier method. Patient-, tumor-, and treatment-specific factors in patients without pCR were analyzed using the Cox proportional hazards method to evaluate factors predictive of LRR. Log-rank statistics were then used to compare LRR among these risk factors.

      RESULTS: A total of 153 patients with a median follow-up of 48.6 months were included. The 4-year overall survival and LRR were 70% and 15%, respectively, and the 4-year LRR in patients with pCR was 0% versus 22.0% in those without (P<.001). In patients without pCR, lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI; hazard ratio, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.64-9.38; P=.002) and extranodal extension (ENE; hazard ratio, 3.32; 95% CI, 1.35-8.15; P=.009) were significant predictors of LRR in multivariable analysis. In these patients, the 4-year LRR with LVSI was 39.8% versus 15.0% without (P<.001). Similarly, the 4-year LRR was 48.1% with ENE versus 16.1% without (P=.002). In patients without pCR, the presence of both LVSI and ENE were associated with an even further increased risk of LRR compared with patients with either LVSI or ENE alone and those with neither LVSI nor ENE in the residual tumor (P<.001).

      CONCLUSIONS: In patients without pCR, the presence of LVSI and ENE increases the risk of LRR in TNBC. The risk of LRR is compounded when both LVSI and ENE are present in the same patient. Future clinical trials are warranted to lower the risk of LRR in these high-risk patients.

      PMID:30959467 | DOI:10.6004/jnccn.2018.7103

      View details for PubMedID 30959467
  • Wound Complication Rates After Vulvar Excisions for Premalignant Lesions Obstetrics and gynecology
    Mullen MM, Merfeld EC, Palisoul ML, Massad LS, Woolfolk C, Powell MA, Mutch DG, Thaker PH, Hagemann AR, Kuroki LM
    2019 Apr;133(4):658-665. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003185.
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      OBJECTIVE: To assess the rate of wound complications and evaluate the effectiveness of antibiotic prophylaxis in vulvar wide local excision procedures.

      METHODS: We performed a single-institution, retrospective cohort study of women undergoing vulvar surgery for premalignant lesions between January 2007 and January 2017. The primary outcome was a composite wound complication rate that included breakdown or infection within 8 weeks postoperatively. Data were analyzed using Fisher exact or χ test, Student t-test, and Poisson regression.

      RESULTS: Wound complications occurred in 154 (28.7%) of the 537 patients. Mean age was 52 years; most patients were white (83.1%), cigarette smokers (65.2%), had no prior vulvar treatment (54.4%), and had a preoperative diagnosis of high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (vulvar HSIL) (70.0%). The presence of other predisposing factors was similar between groups. In multivariate analysis, smoking (odds ratio [OR] 1.64, 95% CI 1.14-2.38) and primary rather than repeat vulvar surgery (OR 1.99, 95% CI 1.31-3.01) were associated with increased risk for wound complications. There was no significant difference in wound complications between women who received preoperative antibiotics and those who did not (30.4% vs 27.4%, P=.45), although the mean length of wound separation in the antibiotic group was shorter (1 vs 2 cm, P=.03).

      CONCLUSION: Wound complications are common among women undergoing surgery for vulvar HSIL, and interventional trials are warranted to evaluate the role of smoking cessation and prophylactic antibiotics to reduce postoperative morbidity.

      PMID:30870300 | DOI:10.1097/AOG.0000000000003185

      View details for PubMedID 30870300
  • Clinical Outcomes and Prognostic Features of Angiosarcoma: Significance of Prior Radiation Therapy Clinical oncology (Royal College of Radiologists (Great Britain))
    Merfeld E, Gabani P, Spraker MB, Zoberi I, Kim H, Van Tine B, Chrisinger J, Michalski JM
    2019 Apr;31(4):232-241. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2019.01.006. Epub 2019 Feb 2.
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      AIMS: Angiosarcoma is a rare and aggressive malignancy with a poor prognosis. There is limited literature describing prognostic factors and guidelines for treatment. We aim to describe outcomes in angiosarcoma, including the impact of patient-, tumour- and treatment-related factors on prognosis.

      MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with non-metastatic angiosarcoma diagnosed between 2008 and 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards methods were used to evaluate factors associated with locoregional recurrence, distant failure and overall survival. The Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank statistics were used to compare outcomes among patients with and without a history of prior radiation therapy.

      RESULTS: The cohort included 65 patients. The median age at diagnosis was 68 years (35-93). Nineteen patients had a history of receiving prior radiation therapy at the anatomic location of their angiosarcoma. Treatment modalities included surgery (n = 19), surgery + radiation therapy (n = 12), surgery + chemotherapy (n = 8), chemotherapy + radiation therapy (n = 7) and all three modalities (n = 14). The median follow-up was 18 (2-192) months. The 2-year locoregional control, distant control and overall survival were 61.8, 63.6 and 58.9%, respectively. On multivariable analysis, a history of previous radiation therapy was associated with inferior outcomes with respect to locoregional recurrence (hazard ratio 89.67, 95% confidence interval 8.45-951.07, P < 0.001), distant failure (hazard failure 3.74, 95% confidence interval 1.57-8.91, P = 0.003) and overall survival (hazard ratio 3.89, 95% confidence interval 1.56-9.60, P = 0.003). In patients with primary angiosarcoma, the rates of locoregional control, distant control and overall survival were 72.4, 73.4 and 65.1%, respectively, compared with 31.9, 41.1 and 45.1% in patients with radiation therapy-induced angiosarcoma (P = 0.001).

      CONCLUSION: Angiosarcomas that arise as a result of previous radiation therapy have worse outcomes compared with primary angiosarcomas. Although selection bias and compromise of clinical care in radiation therapy-induced angiosarcoma are partially to blame, differences in genomic profiles of the tumours need to be characterised to evaluate the underlying biological differences, as this may guide future treatment management. This study adds to the existing body of literature on angiosarcoma. Results from the current study are presented alongside previously published data to further characterise outcomes and prognostic factors on this rare and aggressive malignancy.

      PMID:30718086 | DOI:10.1016/j.clon.2019.01.006

      View details for PubMedID 30718086
  • Patterns of care and treatment outcomes of patients with astroblastoma: a National Cancer Database analysis CNS oncology
    Merfeld EC, Dahiya S, Perkins SM
    2018 Apr;7(2):CNS13. doi: 10.2217/cns-2017-0038. Epub 2018 Apr 30.
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      AIM: To evaluate the use of chemotherapy and radiation, and their outcomes for patients with astroblastoma.

      PATIENTS & METHODS: This is a retrospective review of patients extracted from the National Cancer Database. We investigated overall survival (OS) using Kaplan-Meier curves. Cox proportional hazards models were used to correlate OS with risk variables and treatments.

      RESULTS: OS at 5 years was 79.5%. Patients with high-grade tumors were more likely to receive chemotherapy and radiation. Patients with high-grade astroblastoma who did not receive adjuvant radiation had poor survival.

      CONCLUSION: Patients with astroblastoma should be treated with curative intent. Radiation is likely beneficial in high-grade astroblastoma. The exact role of radiation and chemotherapy following surgical resection warrant further investigation.

      PMID:29708401 | PMC:PMC5977281 | DOI:10.2217/cns-2017-0038

      View details for PubMedID 29708401
  • Neonatal Outcomes Differ after Spontaneous and Indicated Preterm Birth American journal of perinatology
    Stout MJ, Demaree D, Merfeld E, Tuuli MG, Wambach JA, Cole FS, Cahill AG
    2018 Apr;35(5):494-502. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1608804. Epub 2017 Nov 28.
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      OBJECTIVE: Preterm birth (PTB) at <37 weeks of gestation complicates 10% of pregnancies and requires accurate counseling regarding anticipated neonatal outcomes. PTB classification as spontaneous or indicated is commonly used to cluster PTB into subtypes, but whether neonatal outcomes differ by PTB subtype is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that neonatal morbidity differs based on subtype of PTB.

      METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of live-born, non-anomalous preterm infants from 2004 to 2008. Spontaneous PTB was defined as PTB from spontaneous preterm labor or preterm rupture of membranes. Indicated PTB was defined as PTB from any maternal or fetal medical complication necessitating delivery. The primary outcome was a composite of early respiratory morbidity. Secondary outcomes included late composite respiratory morbidity and other neonatal morbidities.

      RESULTS: Of 1,223 preterm neonates, 60.9% were born after spontaneous PTB and 30.1% after indicated PTB. Composite early respiratory morbidity was significantly higher after indicated PTB versus spontaneous PTB (1.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-1.4). Composite late respiratory morbidity (1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.3) and neonatal death (2.8, 95% CI 1.5-5.1) were also significantly higher after indicated PTB versus spontaneous PTB.

      CONCLUSION: Neonatal respiratory outcomes and death differ according to PTB subtype. PTB subtype should be considered while counseling families and anticipating neonatal outcomes after PTB.

      PMID:29183099 | DOI:10.1055/s-0037-1608804

      View details for PubMedID 29183099

Contact Information

Emily Merfeld, MD

600 Highland Avenue,
Madison, WI 53792