Photo of Nadine Jackson McCleary,  MD, MPH

Nadine Jackson McCleary, MD, MPH

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Phone: (617) 632-6729
Fax: (617) 632-5822

Nadine Jackson McCleary, MD, MPH

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


  • Associate Professor, Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Medical Oncologist, Medical Oncology, Gastrointestinal Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


Research Abstract

The decision to focus on the care of elders with cancer came during my residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins. Encouraged by leaders in oncology and geriatrics, I began to examine oncology as a disease of aging -- not just increasing chronological age but also declining physiologic age and consequent loss of function. My particular research focus is the assessment, prognosis and clinical decision-making involving elders with cancer. I am most interested in how the distinction between fit and frail elders is made, how that assessment can inform prognosis and enhance decision-making as well as clinical trial enrollment. Given the aging of the population in general and those with cancer specifically, focused research on the care of elders is imperative.

As a recipient of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award grant for 2008-2009 supported by the Hartford Foundation, I am completing a project entitled “Impact of age and comorbidities on treatment effect, tolerance and toxicity in colorectal cancer”. This study utilizes three unique patient study cohorts (one community-based, two clinical trial-based) to determine the impact of the age and comorbidity on response rate, disease-free or progression-free survival, overall survival, treatment-related toxicity, and treatment intensity of older patients with stage II – IV colorectal cancer. The seminal finding of this three-part study was presented at the 2009 Annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. That study, “Impact of older age on the efficacy of newer adjuvant therapies in >12,500 patients (pts) with stage II/III colon cancer: Findings from the ACCENT Database,” questioned the presence of survival benefit for older patients receiving newer combination chemotherapy regimens for colorectal cancer following surgical resection.

The above effort will define the potential risks of cancer treatment for older patients with colorectal cancer. Current research focuses on developing methods of treatment risk stratification for older patients with cancer. Unfit older patients are at increased risk for toxicity from cancer therapy. Geriatric assessment may provide a method of identifying those individuals at risk of functional decline prior to cancer treatment and an opportunity for clinicians to intervene. The primary objective of my current work is to evaluate the feasibility of a self-administered web-based computer cancer-specific geriatric assessment in a population of older individuals prior to and following treatment for solid tumors. This work is performed in collaboration with other experts in geriatrics, oncology and geriatric oncology. Additionally, I am chairing a prospective study for the Cancer and Leukemia Group B incorporating geriatric assessment in a treatment study in advanced colon cancer in collaboration with the North Central Cancer Treatment Group.

As a faculty member of Gastrointestinal Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the majority of my time is devoted to clinical research with the balance of that time spent in clinical service and teaching. I continue to enrich my research endeavors as a Research Fellow in the Program for Cancer Outcomes Research Training program of Harvard University from July 2009 through July 2011.

Publications from Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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  • Cardot-Ruffino V, Bollenrucher N, Delius L, Wang SJ, Brais LK, Remland J, Keheler CE, Sullivan KM, Abrams TA, Biller LH, Enzinger PC, McCleary NJ, Patel AK, Rubinson DA, Schlechter B, Slater S, Yurgelun MB, Cleary JM, Perez K, Dougan M, Ng K, Wolpin BM, Singh H, Dougan SK. G-CSF rescue of FOLFIRINOX-induced neutropenia leads to systemic immune suppression in mice and humans. J Immunother Cancer 2023. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ, Haakenstad EK, Cleveland JLF, Manni M, Hassett MJ, Schrag D. Framework for integrating electronic patient-reported data in routine cancer care: an Oncology Intake Questionnaire. JAMIA Open 2022; 5:ooac064. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ, Zhang S, Ma C, Ou FS, Bainter TM, Venook AP, Niedzwiecki D, Lenz HJ, Innocenti F, O'Neil BH, Polite BN, Hochster HS, Atkins JN, Goldberg RM, Ng K, Mayer RJ, Blanke CD, O'Reilly EM, Fuchs CS, Meyerhardt JA. Age and comorbidity association with survival outcomes in metastatic colorectal cancer: CALGB 80405 analysis. 2022; 13:469-479. PubMed
  • Knoerl R, Wallar J, Fox E, Hong F, Salehi E, McCleary N, Ligibel JA, Reyes K, Berry DL. Exploring Clinicians' Perspectives of Barriers to Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Assessment and Management in Oncology Practice: A Qualitative Analysis of Semi-structured Interviews. Cancer Nurs 2022. PubMed
  • Garcia Farina E, Rowell J, Revette A, Haakenstad EK, Cleveland JLF, Allende R, Hassett M, Schrag D, McCleary NJ. Barriers to Electronic Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Among Patients with Cancer and Limited English Proficiency. JAMA Netw Open 2022; 5:e2223898. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ, Harmsen WS, Haakenstad E, Cleary JM, Meyerhardt JA, Zalcberg J, Adams R, Grothey A, Sobrero AF, Van Cutsem E, Goldberg RM, Peeters M, Tabernero J, Seymour M, Saltz LB, Giantonio BJ, Arnold D, Rothenberg ML, Koopman M, Schmoll HJ, Pitot HC, Hoff PM, Tebbutt N, Masi G, Souglakos J, Bokemeyer C, Heinemann V, Yoshino T, Chibaudel B, deGramont A, Shi Q, Lichtman SM. Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Outcomes by Age Among ARCAD First- and Second-Line Clinical Trials. JNCI Cancer Spectr 2022. PubMed
  • Brown JC, Brighton E, Campbell N, McCleary NJ, Abrams TA, Cleary JM, Enzinger PC, Ng K, Rubinson D, Wolpin BM, Yurgelun MB, Meyerhardt JA. Physical activity in older adults with metastatic gastrointestinal cancer: a pilot and feasibility study. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med 2022; 8:e001353. PubMed
  • Mehtsun WT, McCleary NJ, Maduekwe UN, Wolpin BM, Schrag D, Wang J. Patterns of Adjuvant Chemotherapy Use and Association With Survival in Adults 80 Years and Older With Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. JAMA Oncol 2022; 8:88-95. PubMed
  • Hassett MJ, Cronin C, Tsou TC, Wedge J, Bian J, Dizon DS, Hazard-Jenkins H, Osarogiagbon RU, Wong S, Basch E, Austin T, McCleary N, Schrag D. eSyM: An Electronic Health Record-Integrated Patient-Reported Outcomes-Based Cancer Symptom Management Program Used by Six Diverse Health Systems. JCO Clin Cancer Inform 2022; 6:e2100137. PubMed
  • Lipsyc-Sharf M, Zhang S, Ou FS, Ma C, McCleary NJ, Niedzwiecki D, Chang IW, Lenz HJ, Blanke CD, Piawah S, Van Loon K, Bainter TM, Venook AP, Mayer RJ, Fuchs CS, Innocenti F, Nixon AB, Goldberg R, O'Reilly EM, Meyerhardt JA, Ng K. Survival in Young-Onset Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Findings from Cancer and Leukemia Group B (Alliance)/SWOG 80405. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2021. PubMed
  • Knoerl R, Mazzola E, Mitchell SA, Hong F, Salehi E, McCleary N, Ligibel JA, Reyes K, Berry DL. Measurement properties of brief neuropathy screening items in cancer patients receiving taxanes, platinums, or proteasome inhibitors. J Patient Rep Outcomes 2021; 5:101. PubMed
  • Enzinger AC, Uno H, McCleary N, Frank E, Sanoff H, Van Loon K, Matin K, Bullock A, Cronin C, Bagley J, Schrag D. The Effect of Disclosing Life Expectancy Information on Patients' Prognostic Understanding: Secondary Outcomes From a Multicenter Randomized Trial of a Palliative Chemotherapy Educational Intervention. J Pain Symptom Manage 2020. PubMed
  • Enzinger AC, Uno H, McCleary N, Frank E, Sanoff H, Van Loon K, Matin K, Bullock A, Cronin C, Cibotti H, Bagley J, Schrag D. Effectiveness of a Multimedia Educational Intervention to Improve Understanding of the Risks and Benefits of Palliative Chemotherapy in Patients With Advanced Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol 2020; 6:1265-1270. PubMed
  • Ivatury SJ, Hazard-Jenkins HW, Brooks GA, McCleary NJ, Wong SL, Schrag D. Translation of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Oncology Clinical Trials to Everyday Practice. Ann Surg Oncol 2019. PubMed
  • Cleary JM, Horick NK, McCleary NJ, Abrams TA, Yurgelun MB, Azzoli CG, Rubinson DA, Brooks GA, Chan JA, Blaszkowsky LS, Clark JW, Goyal L, Meyerhardt JA, Ng K, Schrag D, Savarese DMF, Graham C, Fitzpatrick B, Gibb KA, Boucher Y, Duda DG, Jain RK, Fuchs CS, Enzinger PC. FOLFOX plus ziv-aflibercept or placebo in first-line metastatic esophagogastric adenocarcinoma: A double-blind, randomized, multicenter phase 2 trial. Cancer 2019. PubMed
  • Berry DL, Blonquist TM, Nayak MM, Grenon N, Momani TG, McCleary NJ. Self-Care Support for Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer: iCancerHealth. Appl Clin Inform 2018; 9:833-840. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ, Healey MJ, Weng S, Song AB, Lederman RI, Ramelson HZ, Wagner AJ, Abel GA. Perceptions of Oncologists About Sharing Clinic Notes with Patients. Oncologist 2018. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ, Greenberg TL, Barysauskas CM, Guerette EJ, Hassan M, Jacobson JO, Schrag D. Oncology Patient Portal Enrollment at a Comprehensive Cancer Center: A Quality Improvement Initiative. J Oncol Pract 2018; 14:e451-e461. PubMed
  • Goyal L, Wadlow RC, Blaszkowsky LS, Wolpin BM, Abrams TA, McCleary NJ, Sheehan S, Sundaram E, Karol MD, Chen J, Zhu AX. A phase I and pharmacokinetic study of ganetespib (STA-9090) in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Invest New Drugs 2015. PubMed
  • Shah SM, Rosenthal MH, Griffin GK, Jacobsen ED, McCleary NJ. An aggressive presentation of colorectal cancer with an atypical lymphoproliferative pattern of metastatic disease: a case report and review of the literature. Clin Colorectal Cancer 2014; 13:e5-e11. PubMed
  • Wolpin BM, Rubinson DA, Wang X, Chan JA, Cleary JM, Enzinger PC, Fuchs CS, McCleary NJ, Meyerhardt JA, Ng K, Schrag D, Sikora AL, Spicer BA, Killion L, Mamon H, Kimmelman AC. Phase II and pharmacodynamic study of autophagy inhibition using hydroxychloroquine in patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Oncologist 2014; 19:637-8. PubMed
  • Stanworth SJ, Estcourt LJ, Powter G, Kahan BC, Dyer C, Choo L, Bakrania L, Llewelyn C, Littlewood T, Soutar R, Norfolk D, Copplestone A, Smith N, Kerr P, Jones G, Raj K, Westerman DA, Szer J, Jackson N, Bardy PG, Plews D, Lyons S, Bielby L, Wood EM, Murphy MF, . A no-prophylaxis platelet-transfusion strategy for hematologic cancers. N Engl J Med 2013; 368:1771-80. PubMed
  • Chan JA, Mayer RJ, Jackson N, Malinowski P, Regan E, Kulke MH. Phase I study of sorafenib in combination with everolimus (RAD001) in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2013. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ. Treatment considerations in elderly colorectal cancer patients. Clin Adv Hematol Oncol 2010; 8:337-9. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ, Niedzwiecki D, Hollis D, Saltz LB, Schaefer P, Whittom R, Hantel A, Benson A, Goldberg R, Meyerhardt JA. Impact of smoking on patients with stage III colon cancer: results from Cancer and Leukemia Group B 89803. Cancer 2010; 116:957-66. PubMed
  • McCleary NJ, Meyerhardt JA. New developments in the adjuvant therapy of stage II colon cancer. Risk assessments in the older patient. Oncology (Huntingt) 2010; 24:3-8. PubMed
  • Jackson NA, Barrueco J, Soufi-Mahjoubi R, Marshall J, Mitchell E, Zhang X, Meyerhardt J. Comparing safety and efficacy of first-line irinotecan/fluoropyrimidine combinations in elderly versus nonelderly patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: findings from the bolus, infusional, or capecitabine with camptostar-celecoxib study. Cancer 2009; 115:2617-29. PubMed