Emma L. Barber, MD, received an award for the “Best Clinical Poster Abstract” presented at the 2016 annual meeting and Leslie Clark, MD, was awarded the Laurel Rice Young Investigator Prize.

Emma L. Barber, MD, is a gynecologic oncology fellow at UNC.

Several UNC Lineberger researchers presented studies at the Society for Gynecologic Oncology’s 2017 Annual Meeting for Women’s Cancer, which was held March 12-15 in National Harbor, Maryland. In addition, two researchers were honored for their work.

Emma L. Barber, MD, a gynecologic oncology fellow at UNC, presented a study during a plenary session that found the use of hospital readmissions data was an inaccurate measure of care quality for ovarian cancer. While the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has made reducing readmission rates a priority, Barber and her research colleagues questioned the use of the readmission rates as a metric for care quality.

CMS uses a 30-day readmission metric to discourage repeated hospitalizations in patients with chronic medical conditions. The Affordable Care Act allows the CMS to penalize a hospital up to three percent of total reimbursement if the hospital has high readmission rate compared to similar hospitals. Readmission rates also were factored as a measure of surgical quality and care quality in some hospital ranking systems.

Barber reported that women who received chemotherapy prior to surgery had a 36 percent increased rate of death compared with patients who received chemotherapy after surgery as initial treatment. However, they had half the rate of readmission. In contrast, those who received surgery first had a higher survival rate, but a higher rate of readmissions.

“Those over-arching policies are going to incentivize gynecologic oncologists to do more chemotherapy before surgery,” Barber said in a statement in the release. “This is an example where a well-meaning policy for the broad population has unintended consequences for the smaller ovarian cancer community.”

Barber also presented another paper, “Are short term quality metrics incentivizing decreased long term survival?” The study co-authors were Emma C. Rossi, MD, of the UNC Department of Gynecologic Oncology, and UNC Lineberger’s Paola Gehrig, MD, professor and director of the UNC Department of Gynecologic Oncology.

Arthur-Quan Minh Tran, MD, a fellow in the gynecologic oncology department, presented “Reversal of obesity-driven aggressiveness of endometrial cancer by metformin.” The study was senior authored by UNC Lineberger’s Victoria Bae-Jump, MD, PhD, associate professor of gynecologic oncology in the UNC School of Medicine.

UNC Lineberger researchers also garnered honors at the meeting:

  • Barber received an award for the “Best Clinical Poster Abstract” presented at the 2016 annual meeting. Barber was first author of the paper, “Validity of Currently Available Venous Thromboembolism Risk Assessment Tools in Gynecologic Oncology Patients,” and the senior author was UNC Lineberger’s Daniel Clarke-Pearson, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Robert A. Ross Professor in the UNC School of Medicine.
  • Leslie Clark, MD, fellow in the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was awarded the Laurel Rice Young Investigator Prize.