Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Margaret M. Byrne, Ph.D.

Margaret M. Byrne, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences

Description of Research

Dr. Byrne’s research interests focus on medical decision making in a variety of settings. Previous work included collaboration on a study of patient preferences for treatment of prostate cancer, which include preference elicitation and knowledge assessment (VA SDR 93-007), as well as on a study of racial differences in preferences for osteoarthritis treatment (AHRQ 5P01 HS10876-022000). Her career development award from NCI explored the consequences of and decisions about lung cancer screening in high risk individuals (NCI K07CA101812). As PI, she has recently completed a study describing cancer patients’ attitudes, knowledge and perceptions of participation in cancer clinical trials (Bankhead Coley Research Program Grant 07BP-01-12333), and discussions of clinical trials on the NCI Cancer Information Service (CIS) call line. She has completed funded research as PI including work on decision making in the following areas: developing a decision aid to improve decision making about participation in cancer clinical trials in minority cancer patients (RC2 MD004784); examining decision making in lung cancer screening (R21 CA139371); and decision making about behavior during situations of Florida Red Tide (R21 ES017413). In addition, she is involved in research that explores the effectiveness and ethics of financial incentives for study participants.


  • Recommendations and barriers to screening colonoscopy - A large majority of physicians believe that colonoscopy is the most sensitive and thorough method for screening for colorectal cancer, yet physicians recommend the procedure to just 51 percent of patients. Difficulty in receiving approval from insurance companies for the procedure is one major reason doctors do not recommend it more often. In a survey of insurance companies, Dr. Byrne found that approximately 50 percent of companies indicated that they would cover screening colonoscopy.
  • Effects of lung cancer screening - Individuals who receive an indeterminate screening result are more anxious and thus typically perceive their health to be lower following a screening. In addition, their perceived risk of having lung cancer substantially increases to levels much higher than their actual objective risk.
  • Factors affecting decisions about lung cancer screening – From questions on a conjoint valuation instrument, the general propensity for screening was 3.85 on a scale from 1-9, although average interest in having screening done was 2.8 on a scale from 1-5. Health care provider recommendation was the most important factor in decisions for screening, followed by out of pocket costs. The false positive rate and reduction in mortality from screening were least imortant.
  • Participation in cancer clinical trials - A survey of 1100 cancer patients (prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal) found that 7.6% of those surveyed reported being in a clinical trial, and this varied significantly by race/ethnicity: Whites 11.4%, Blacks 7.1%, and Hispanics 4.5%. Willingness to participate did not vary by race (approximately 33% overall). The most prevalent reported barriers to participation were concerns about insurance coverage, the doctor not being encouraging, and not wanting to feel like a guinea pig.
  • A web-based decision aid developed with the goal of helping minority cancer patients make decisions about participation in cancer clinical trials lead to a significant increase in the number of objective knowledge questions about cancer clinical trials that cancer survivors could correctly answer. It did not increase stated willingness to participate in clinical trial significantly, but this was already very high. Participants in a study of decision aid had overall very positive reactions to the decision including all agreeing or definitely agreeing that the decision aid would be helpful if they were making a decision about participating in a study.

Selected Cancer-Related Publications

  • Byrne MM, Tannenbaum SL, Glück S, Hurley J, Antoni M. Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials: Why Are Patients Not Participating? Med Decis Making :,2013 Read more »
  • Tannenbaum SL, Koru-Sengul T, Miao F, Byrne MM. Disparities in survival after female breast cancer diagnosis: a population-based study. Cancer Causes Control :,2013 Read more »
  • Byrne MM, Kornfeld J, Vanderpool R, Belanger M. Discussions of Cancer Clinical Trials with the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service. J Health Commun 17:319-337,2012 Read more »
  • Byrne MM, Halman LJ, Koniaris LG, Cassileth PA, Rosenblatt JD, Cheung MC. Effects of poverty and race on outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia. Am J Clin Oncol 34:297-304,2011 Read more »
  • Vanderpool RC, Kornfeld J, Mills L, Byrne MM. Rural-urban differences in discussions of cancer treatment clinical trials. Patient Educ Couns 85:e69-74,2011 [JIF 2.237] Read more »
  • Yang R, Cheung MC, Pedroso FE, Byrne MM, Koniaris LG, Zimmers TA. Obesity and Weight Loss at Presentation of Lung Cancer are Associated with Opposite Effects on Survival. J Surg Res 170:e75-83,2011 Read more »
  • Grossman RA, Pedroso FE, Byrne MM, Koniaris LG, Misra S. Does surgery or radiation therapy impact survival for patients with extrapulmonary small cell cancers? J Surg Oncol 104:604-12,2011 Read more »
  • Koniaris LG, Levi DM, Pedroso FE, Franceschi D, Tzakis AG, Santamaria-Barria JA, Tang J, Anderson M, Misra S, Solomon NL, Jin X, Dipasco PJ, Byrne MM, Zimmers TA. Is surgical resection superior to transplantation in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma? Ann Surg 254:527-38,2011 [JIF 7.474] Read more »
  • Byrne MM, Davila EP, Zhao W, Parker D, Hooper MW, Caban-Martinez A, Dietz N, Huang Y, Messiah A, Lee DJ. Cancer screening behaviors among smokers and non-smokers. Cancer Epidemiol 34:611-7,2010 Read more »
  • Byrne MM, Koru-Sengul T, Zhao W, Weissfeld JL, Roberts MS. Healthcare use after screening for lung cancer. Cancer 116:4793-9,2010 Read more »


Collaborating in the Multidisciplinary Research Program(s):

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