Thomas LeBlanc

Overview:

I am a medical oncologist, palliative care physician, and patient experience researcher.  My clinical practice focuses on the care of patients with hematologic malignancies, with a particular emphasis on myeloid conditions and acute leukemias including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs / MPDs, CML).  

As founding Director of the Duke Cancer Patient Experience Research Program (CPEP), my research investigates common issues faced by people with cancer, including issues of symptom burden, quality of life, psychological distress, prognostic understanding, and treatment decision-making. This work aims to improve patients' experiences living with serious illnesses like blood cancers, including the integration of specialist palliative care services to provide an extra layer of support along with their comprehensive cancer care. More broadly, our team in CPEP conducts various studies of patient experience and outcomes issues in oncology, including retrospective chart review studies, comparative effectiveness work, prospective observational studies and registries, and qualitative research, along with efforts to facilitate the integration of patient-generated health data (PGHD) into routine cancer care processes, such as with electronic patient-reported outcome measures (ePROs) and other mobile health interventions (mHealth). 

This work has led to recognition as an "Inspirational Leader under 40" by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), "Fellow" status from the Academy in 2016, the 2018 international "Clinical Impact Award" from the European Association for Palliative Care, and the AAHPM "Early Career Investigator" award in 2020. I served as 2017-18 Chair of the ASCO Ethics Committee, and currently Chair the Scientific Review Committee of the NIH/NINR-funded Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (PCRC; www.palliativecareresearch.org). I have served on various national guideline panels for AML and for palliative/supportive care issues in oncology, and was inducted as a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO) in 2021. To date I have published over 150 Medline-indexed articles, and several chapters in prominent textbooks of oncology and palliative medicine.

Positions:

Associate Professor of Medicine

Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
School of Medicine

Associate Professor in Population Health Sciences

Population Health Sciences
School of Medicine

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Duke Cancer Institute
School of Medicine

Education:

M.D. 2006

Duke University

Intern

Duke University School of Medicine

Resident

Duke University School of Medicine

Chief Medical Resident

Duke University School of Medicine

Fellowship, Hospice And Palliative Medicine

Duke University School of Medicine

Fellow, Medical Oncology

Duke University School of Medicine

Grants:

AC220-A-U302 trial

Administered By
Duke Clinical Research Institute
Awarded By
Daiichi Sankyo Inc
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Prognostic understanding and decision-making in acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Administered By
Duke Cancer Institute
Awarded By
American Cancer Society, Inc.
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Randomized Trial of Inpatient Palliative Care for Patients with Hematologic Malignancies

Administered By
Duke Cancer Institute
Awarded By
Massachusetts General Hospital
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Understanding Barriers to Oral Therapy Adherence in Adult/Older-Adult AML Patients (429 Oral)

Administered By
Duke Cancer Institute
Awarded By
Carevive Systems, Inc.
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Palliative care and shared decision-making for patients with blood cancers

Administered By
Duke Cancer Institute
Awarded By
Cambia Health Foundation
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Publications:

Coping Strategies in Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Patients diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) face sudden-onset life-threatening disease that requires intensive treatments. Although their early disease trajectory is characterized by significant, toxic side effects, there is limited data describing coping strategies among patients with AML and how these inform patient-reported outcomes. We used cross-sectional secondary data analyses to describe coping in 160 patients with newly diagnosed high-risk AML. We used the Brief COPE, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Leukemia at time of AML diagnosis to measure coping strategies, psychological distress and quality of life (QOL), respectively. We used the median split method for distribution of coping domains, and multivariate regression models to assess the relationship between coping and patient-reported outcomes. Participants (median age=64.4 years) were mostly non-Hispanic White (86.3%), male (60.0%), and married (73.8%). Most (51.9%) had high utilization of approach-oriented coping strategies whereas 38.8% had high utilization of avoidant coping strategies. At time of diagnosis, use of approach-oriented coping was associated with less psychological distress (anxiety: β=-0.262, p=0.002; depression symptoms β=-0.311, p<0.001; PTSD symptoms: β=-0.596, p=0.006) and better QOL (β=1.491, p=0.003). Use of avoidant coping was associated with more psychological distress (anxiety: β=0.884, p<0.001; depression symptoms: β=0.697, p<0.001; PTSD symptoms: β=3.048, p<0.001) and worse QOL (β=-5.696, p<0.001). Patients with high-risk AML utilize various approach-oriented and avoidant coping strategies at time of diagnosis. Use of approach-oriented coping strategies was associated with less psychological distress and better QOL, suggesting a possible target for supportive oncology interventions.
Authors
Amonoo, HL; Bodd, MH; Reynolds, MJ; Nelson, AM; Newcomb, RA; Johnson, PC; Dhawale, TM; Plotke, R; Heuer, L; Gillani, S; Yang, D; Deary, EC; Daskalakis, E; Goldschen, L; Brunner, AM; Fathi, AT; LeBlanc, TW; El-Jawahri, A
MLA Citation
Amonoo, Hermioni L., et al. “Coping Strategies in Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.Blood Adv, Nov. 2021. Pubmed, doi:10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005845.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1501456
PMID
34768282
Source
pubmed
Published In
Blood Adv
Published Date
DOI
10.1182/bloodadvances.2021005845

Targeting health-related quality of life in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes - Current knowledge and lessons to be learned.

Using a range of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instruments, most - but not all - studies of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) have reported that lower hemoglobin levels and red blood cell transfusion dependency are associated with worse HRQoL. In addition, some MDS treatments may significantly improve HRQoL, particularly among those patients who respond to therapy; however, the majority of these studies were underpowered for this secondary endpoint. Furthermore, decreased HRQoL has been associated with worse survival outcomes, and HRQoL scores can be used to refine classical prognostic systems. Despite the subjective nature of HRQoL, the importance and validity of measuring it in trials and clinical practice are increasingly being recognized, but properly validated MDS-specific instruments are required. We describe what is currently known about HRQoL in patients with MDS, and the limitations of measuring HRQoL, and we provide some recommendations to improve the measurement of this outcome in future trials.
Authors
Oliva, EN; Platzbecker, U; Fenaux, P; Garcia-Manero, G; LeBlanc, TW; Patel, BJ; Kubasch, AS; Sekeres, MA
MLA Citation
Oliva, Esther N., et al. “Targeting health-related quality of life in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes - Current knowledge and lessons to be learned.Blood Rev, vol. 50, Nov. 2021, p. 100851. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.blre.2021.100851.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1485405
PMID
34088518
Source
pubmed
Published In
Blood Rev
Volume
50
Published Date
Start Page
100851
DOI
10.1016/j.blre.2021.100851

ANNUAL HEALTHCARE RESOURCE UTILIZATION AND COSTS IN US PATIENTS DIAGNOSED WITH RELAPSED ACUTE MYELOID LEUKEMIA

Authors
Huggar, D; Knoth, RL; Cao, Z; Lipkin, C; Copher, R; LeBlanc, TW
MLA Citation
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1488562
Source
wos-lite
Published In
Value in Health
Volume
24
Published Date
Start Page
S28
End Page
S28

Assessment of Changes in Symptoms Is Feasible and Prognostic in the Last Weeks of Life: An International Multicenter Cohort Study.

Background: Symptoms are not typically part of established various prognostic factors and scoring systems but are among the most frequently assessed issues in patient care. Objectives: To evaluate that, changes in symptoms can provide additional useful prognostic information. Design: A secondary analysis of an international cohort study in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Setting/Subjects: Subjects were adult patients with advanced cancer (n = 2074) who were admitted to 37 palliative care units (PCUs) in 3 countries from January 2017 to September 2018. Measurements: Symptoms (dyspnea, fatigue, dry mouth, and drowsiness) were assessed at admission and one-week later. Dyspnea was assessed by the presence of resting and exertional dyspnea, whereas other symptoms were assessed using the Integrated Palliative care Outcome Scales (IPOS) (range 0-4). For analysis, we grouped patients by symptom change, as either Improved, Stable, or Worsened (by having at least a one increment decrease, no change, or at least a one increment increase, respectively). Results: Worsened groups had the shortest survival (median survival 15-21 days) compared with those with Improved (median survival 23-31 days) and Stable symptoms (median survival 27-29 days) across all four symptoms (dyspnea, fatigue, dry mouth, and drowsiness). Survival differences were statistically significantly different across all three groups for all symptoms (all p < 0.001). Interestingly, Improved symptoms were associated with similar survival compared with Stable groups, with no statistical differences. Conclusions: Worsened symptoms at one week after admission were useful predictors of survival for patients with advanced cancer in PCUs during the final weeks of life. Longitudinal assessments are needed to reflect passage of time as well as impact of treatments.
Authors
Suh, S-Y; Won, S-H; Hiratsuka, Y; Choi, S-E; Cheng, S-Y; Mori, M; Chen, P-J; Yamaguchi, T; Morita, T; Tsuneto, S; LeBlanc, TW; Kim, S-H; Yoon, S-J; Lee, ES; Hwang, SW
MLA Citation
Suh, Sang-Yeon, et al. “Assessment of Changes in Symptoms Is Feasible and Prognostic in the Last Weeks of Life: An International Multicenter Cohort Study.J Palliat Med, Oct. 2021. Pubmed, doi:10.1089/jpm.2021.0212.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1499511
PMID
34668798
Source
pubmed
Published In
Journal of Palliative Medicine
Published Date
DOI
10.1089/jpm.2021.0212

Morphologic leukemia-free state in acute myeloid leukemia is sufficient for successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

Authors
Pabon, CM; Li, Z; Hennig, T; de Castro, C; Neff, JL; Horwitz, ME; LeBlanc, TW; Long, GD; Lopez, RD; Sung, AD; Chao, N; Gasparetto, C; Sarantopoulos, S; Adams, DB; Erba, H; Rizzieri, DA
MLA Citation
Pabon, Cindy M., et al. “Morphologic leukemia-free state in acute myeloid leukemia is sufficient for successful allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant.Blood Cancer J, vol. 11, no. 5, May 2021, p. 92. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/s41408-021-00481-9.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1482850
PMID
33994546
Source
pubmed
Published In
Blood Cancer Journal
Volume
11
Published Date
Start Page
92
DOI
10.1038/s41408-021-00481-9

Research Areas:

Aged
Attitude of Health Personnel
Attitude to Death
Attitude to Health
Cardiovascular Diseases
Clinical Competence
Clinical Trials as Topic
Cognition Disorders
Communication
Comparative Effectiveness Research
Decision Making
Diffusion of Innovation
Dyspnea
Ethics
Evidence-Based Medicine
Guideline Adherence
Health Services Research
Hematologic Neoplasms
Hospice Care
Information Dissemination
Inpatients
Jargon
Leukemia
Lung Neoplasms
Lymphoma
Medical education
Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Myeloproliferative Disorders
Neoplasms
Nonverbal Communication
Odds Ratio
Oncology Service, Hospital
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Oxygen
Pain
Pain Management
Palliative Care
Patient Selection
Patient-Centered Care
Perception
Prognosis
Quality of Health Care
Statistics as Topic
Terminal Care
Treatment Outcome
Withholding Treatment