Marcom Race for the Cure
Kelly Marcom, MD, at the Komen Triangle Race for the Cure

Marcom Retires from Clinical Practice After 32 Years


After 32 years with the Duke Cancer Institute family, Kelly Marcom, MD, a breast medical oncologist and a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Duke University School of Medicine, has retired from clinical practice. His last day was May 31.

Marcom joins Veracyte, Inc., a global genomic diagnostics company, as medical director of their breast cancer program, but he'll remain at Duke as an adjunct faculty member.

"Dr. Marcom has dedicated his career to treating breast cancer, and we are grateful for his leadership in the Division of Medical Oncology," said executive director of DCI Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD. "As the disease group leader for DCI's multi-disciplinary Breast Cancer Disease Group, he provided a vision for clinical and translational research. He was instrumental in the implementation of the Maestro EMR in our oncology practices. Throughout the years, he tirelessly focused on the optimization of the EMR and technology to improve provider workflow and care delivery, as well as the ability to harness informatics for potential use in research."

After earning his MD at Baylor University in 1989, Marcom joined Duke's Internal Medicine residency program. He remained at Duke for a Hematology/Oncology fellowship and in 1995 became a research associate in the Division of Medical Oncology. From 2004 to 2010 he served as an assistant professor. Marcom was promoted to associate professor in the Division in 2010, then to full professor in 2017.

Over the course of his career, Marcom led numerous clinical research efforts — developing clinical trials investigating new chemotherapies, targeted therapies, and biologic/immunotherapies to treat breast cancer — and directed the Hereditary Cancer Clinic at DCI.

His basic science research efforts, in collaboration with genetics colleagues, included the study of inherited genetic mutations in normal cells that signify an increased risk or susceptibility to breast cancer and other cancers and the study of genetic changes that develop in cancer cells (not inherited) and drive the growth and spread of breast cancer.

Marcom published dozens of papers covering the topics of hereditary cancer risk, breast cancer prevention, optimal management of early breast cancer and treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

"I have dedicated my career to treating breast cancer and assessing individuals and their families for inherited risk of developing cancer. I originally went into medicine because of my interest in its underlying science. While that aspect still fascinates me, I have over time increasingly valued the personal relationships with my patients and the reward of helping them through the challenges associated with a cancer diagnosis," said Marcom in an interview in 2018 with Duke Health.  "A confluence of personal, family, and professional events led me to pursue treatment of breast cancer and made it impossible for me to do anything else. Breast cancer receives a great deal of attention because it should; it strikes at our humanity in a unique way."

In September 2017 Marcom was selected by Duke University Hospital to receive the Strength, Hope and Caring Physician Award. The Strength, Hope and Caring program rewards Duke faculty and staff who exceed expectations and whose actions reflect the organization’s core — providing strength to those who are suffering, hope to those served, and care beyond the clinical sense of the word.

"Please join me in thanking Dr. Marcom for his contributions to Duke, our patients, families, and the communities he served," wrote Kastan in an internal message to faculty and staff last month. "While we are sad for Dr. Marcom to step down, this is an exciting new opportunity. We wish him well as he begins this new chapter in his career."

Marcom has worked closely with the breast team to transition his clinical practice. Kastan noted that DCI plans to conduct a national search to add "another exceptional breast medical oncologist to the team."

Hear from some of Dr. Marcom's patients

"I have total confidence in Dr Marcom and the staff. This is my second occurrence of cancer. He was my doctor twenty years ago with the first. It is truly a blessing to be able to be his patient through this event!" — DCI patient (de-identified), September 2020

“Dr. Marcom is a real-life superhero. He treats each patient as if he or she is the only one he is taking care of and is sensitive to a patient’s concerns and fears. In every interaction, he always goes above and beyond to provide you the care needed. I live three and a half hours away from Duke, but I can remember multiple times that I found myself in a medical emergency situation. Dr. Marcom worked seamlessly with my local emergency department, no matter the distance.” —  DCI patient Kim Taronji, on why she nominated Dr. Marcom for a Duke University Hospital Strength, Hope and Caring Award (2017)

 DCI metastatic breast cancer patient Roshanda "Wyndi" Smith

“Dr. Marcom gave me fist bumps; he was so happy he gave me a hug. It was the best news. My whole world lit up.” — DCI metastatic breast cancer patient Roshanda "Wyndi" Smith, December 2017

READ "MyDukeCancerStory: Woman of Steel" (2017)
(After a courageous 18 year battle with breast cancer, Smith passed away in March 2019)

“Dr. Marcom will be my lifelong friend" — DCI breast cancer survivor Angie Vega (2017)

Every year, since 2016, Angie and her husband Dave, with their pink hats and boas, come to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event (except during COVID-19) and stop by the DCI booth — in celebration of survivorship and to raise awareness about breast cancer.

This page was reviewed on 06/11/2021