Picture of Emily Merfeld

Emily Merfeld, MD

Radiation Oncology Resident

Department of Human Oncology

Education

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, Membership & Mentorship Chair

American Assocation of Women in Radiology (AAWR), Members-in-Training Co-Chair

  • Dispelling myths: The case for women in radiology and radiation oncology Clinical imaging
    Goodyear A, Merfeld E, Hu J, Shah A, Schmitt C, Lee A, Brixey AG, Spalluto LB, Porter KK, Patel A, Esfahani SA
    2022 May;85:55-59. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2022.02.008. Epub 2022 Feb 22.
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      Common misconceptions about radiology and radiation oncology exist and may dissuade women from pursuing these specialties. The American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR) Medical Student Outreach Subcommittee began a multi-year social media campaign aimed at addressing these myths. Here, we outline several myths presented in this social media campaign and provide a combination of literature review and experts' opinions to deconstruct and dispel them.

      PMID:35245860 | DOI:10.1016/j.clinimag.2022.02.008


      View details for PubMedID 35245860
  • De-escalating Locoregional Therapy for Axillary Micrometastases in Breast Cancer: How Much is Too Much? Clinical breast cancer
    Merfeld EC, Burr AR, Brickson C, Neuman HB, Anderson BM
    2022 Jun;22(4):336-342. doi: 10.1016/j.clbc.2022.01.001. Epub 2022 Jan 12.
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      BACKGROUND: The applicability of modern prospective data on adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) fields in patients with micrometastases is limited because many trials occurred prior to routine measurement of nodal metastasis size and modern sentinel lymph node evaluation techniques. We aimed to determine prognostic factors for patients with micrometastases and evaluate the impact of adjuvant RT on disease outcomes.

      PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients diagnosed with pathologic T1-T3 N1mi breast cancers between 2004-2015 were identified. Cox proportional hazards methods were used to determine characteristics predictive of locoregional recurrence (LRR). Tumor and treatment-specific factors were further evaluated using log-rank statistics to compare rates of LRR-free survival.

      RESULTS: This analysis included 156 patients. On multivariable analysis, grade 3 histology (HR 10.84, 95% CI 2.72-43.21) and adjuvant RT (HR 0.22, 95% CI 0.06-0.81) were independent predictors of LRR. Among patients with grade 1-2 histology, 5-year LRR-free survival was 98.8% in patients who received adjuvant RT versus 100% in patients who did not receive adjuvant RT (P = .82). Among patients with grade 3 histology, 5-year LRR-free survival was 90.1% in patients who received adjuvant RT versus 53.0% in patients who did not receive adjuvant RT (P = .025), and 100% in patients receiving comprehensive nodal irradiation versus 76.7% in patients receiving whole breast irradiation or no RT (P = .045).

      CONCLUSION: Patients with grade 3 micrometastases are at substantial risk for LRR. Adjuvant RT, including comprehensive nodal irradiation, should be strongly considered in these women.

      PMID:35105500 | DOI:10.1016/j.clbc.2022.01.001


      View details for PubMedID 35105500
  • Stereotactic Radiation Therapy for an Arteriovenous Malformation of the Oral Tongue: A Teaching Case Advances in radiation oncology
    Merfeld EC, Labby ZE, Miller JR, Burr AR, Wong F, Diamond C, Wieland AR, Aagaard-Kienitz B, Howard SP
    2021 Dec 16;7(3):100870. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2021.100870. eCollection 2022 May-Jun.
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      PMID:35079666 | PMC:PMC8777148 | DOI:10.1016/j.adro.2021.100870


      View details for PubMedID 35079666
  • Women Oncologists' Perceptions and Factors Associated With Decisions to Pursue Academic vs Nonacademic Careers in Oncology JAMA network open
    Merfeld EC, Blitzer GC, Kuczmarska-Haas A, Pitt SC, Chino F, Le T, Allen-Rhoades WA, Cole S, Marshall AL, Carnes M, Jagsi R, Duma N
    2021 Dec 1;4(12):e2141344. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.41344.
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      IMPORTANCE: Women outnumber men in US medical school enrollment, but they represent less than 40% of academic oncology faculty.

      OBJECTIVE: To identify the key factors associated with female oncologists' decision to pursue academic or nonacademic oncology practice and to characterize their perceptions about their current career.

      DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This cross-sectional survey study was distributed through email and social media to female physicians in academic and nonacademic oncology practice in the United States. The survey was open for 3 months, from August 1 to October 31, 2020.

      MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: No single primary study outcome was established because of the cross-sectional nature of the survey. Data were collected anonymously and analyzed using t tests for continuous variables and χ2 tests for categorical variables.

      RESULTS: Among the 667 female respondents, 422 (63.2%) identified as academic oncologists and 245 (36.8%) identified as nonacademic oncologists. Approximately 25% of respondents reported that their spouse or partner (156 [23.5%]) and/or family (176 [26.4%]) extremely or moderately affected their decision to pursue academic practice. Academic oncologists perceived the biggest sacrifice of pursuing academics to be time with loved ones (181 [42.9%]). Nonacademic oncologists perceived the biggest sacrifice of pursuing academics to be pressure for academic promotion (102 [41.6%]). Respondents had different perceptions of how their gender affected their ability to obtain a chosen job, with 116 academic oncologists (27.6%) and 101 nonacademic oncologists (41.2%) reporting a positive or somewhat positive impact (P = .001). More than half of the women surveyed (54.6% academic oncologists [230]; 50.6% nonacademic oncologists [123]; P = .61) believed they were less likely to be promoted compared with male colleagues. Academic and nonacademic oncologists reported rarely or never having a sense of belonging in their work environment (33 [7.9%] and 5 [2.0%]; P < .001). Most respondents reported that they would choose the same career path again (301 academic oncologists [71.3%]; 168 nonacademic oncologists [68.6%]); however, 92 academic oncologists (21.9%) reported they were likely to pursue a career outside of academic oncology in the next 5 years.

      CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This survey study found that a spouse or partner and/or family were factors in the career choice of both academic and nonacademic oncologists and that female gender was largely perceived to adversely affect job promotion. Given that more than 20% of female academic oncologists were considering leaving academia, gender inequality is at high risk of continuing if the culture is not addressed.

      PMID:34967880 | PMC:PMC8719237 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.41344


      View details for PubMedID 34967880
  • Family and Medical Leave for Diagnostic Radiology, Interventional Radiology, and Radiation Oncology Residents in the United States: A Policy Opportunity Radiology
    Magudia K, Ng SC, Campbell SR, Balthazar P, Dibble EH, Hassanzadeh CJ, Lall N, Merfeld EC, Esfahani SA, Jimenez RB, Fields EC, Lightfoote JB, Ackerman SJ, Jeans EB, Englander MJ, DeBenedectis CM, Porter KK, Spalluto LB, Deitte LA, Jagsi R, Arleo EK
    2021 Jul;300(1):31-35. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2021210798. Epub 2021 Apr 13.
  • Concurrent paclitaxel and radiation therapy for the treatment of cutaneous angiosarcoma Clinical and translational radiation oncology
    Roy A, Gabani P, Davis EJ, Oppelt P, Merfeld E, Keedy VL, Zoberi I, Chrisinger SA, Michalski JM, Van Tine B, Spraker MB
    2021 Jan 28;27:114-120. doi: 10.1016/j.ctro.2021.01.009. eCollection 2021 Mar.
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      INTRODUCTION: We compared clinical outcomes in patients with cutaneous angiosarcoma receiving concurrent paclitaxel-based chemoradiotherapy (CRT) vs. other modalities (Non-CRT).

      MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with non-metastatic cutaneous angiosarcoma diagnosed from 1998 to 2018 at two institutions were identified. In the CRT cohort, paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 weekly was given for up to 12 weeks and patients received radiotherapy (RT) during the final 6 weeks of chemotherapy. The RT dose was 50-50.4 Gy delivered in 1.8-2 Gy per fraction with an optional post-operative boost of 10-16 Gy. Kaplan-Meier and log-rank statistics were used to compare the outcomes between the two groups. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

      RESULTS: Fifty-seven patients were included: 22 CRT and 35 Non-CRT. The CRT cohort had more patients > 60 years (100% vs. 60%, p < 0.001) and tumors >5 cm (68.2% vs 54.3%, p = 0.023). The median follow-up was 25.8 (1.5-155.2) months. There was no significant difference in 2-year local control (LC), distant control (DC), or progression-free survival (PFS) between the two groups. The 2-year overall survival (OS) was significantly higher for the CRT cohort (94.1% vs. 71.6%, p = 0.033). Amongst the subset of patients in the CRT cohort who received trimodality therapy, the 2-year LC, DC, PFS, and OS was 68.6%, 100%, 68.6%, and 100%, respectively.

      CONCLUSION: The use of concurrent paclitaxel CRT demonstrates promising outcomes. Given these results, we are currently evaluating the safety and efficacy of this regimen in prospective, phase 2 trial (NCT03921008).

      PMID:33604458 | PMC:PMC7876514 | DOI:10.1016/j.ctro.2021.01.009


      View details for PubMedID 33604458
  • 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


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  • 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


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Contact Information

Emily Merfeld, MD

600 Highland Avenue,
Madison, WI 53792
Email