Rocque to help inform vulnerable populations in breast cancer decision-making

A UAB oncologist has received a Pioneering Ideas Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Written by: Emily Stembridge
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

Rocque2Gabrielle Rocque, M.D.Gabrielle Rocque, M.D., has received a research grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the uses of different types of early-stage breast cancer treatment and the effectiveness of these treatments in diverse populations.

Patients enrolled in clinical trials are often younger and healthier as compared to a general cancer population. Other populations, such as people with comorbidities and racial and ethnic minorities, are often underrepresented in clinical trials. Rocque, assistant professor of medicine in the divisions of Hematology and Oncology and Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, hopes her research will better understand outcomes of patients who typically are unrepresented or underrepresented in clinical trials. She also hopes it will allow clinicians to have a better understanding of cancer treatment guidelines for diverse patient populations.

“My team and I will evaluate the adoption of clinical trial results in real-world settings, compare survival outcomes for patients within well-represented, underrepresented and unrepresented groups, and compare survival outcomes for patients in clinical trials with well-represented patients,” said Rocque, who is also an associate scientist in UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

With this research, Rocque hopes to better inform and engage potentially vulnerable populations in decision-making when it comes to breast cancer treatments. She has a passion to improve the quality of care delivery for cancer patients, and her clinical interests reflect that, as she has completed extensive work on guideline-based care within large databases.