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Private Payer and Medicare Coverage for Circulating Tumor DNA Testing: A Historical Analysis of Coverage Policies From 2015 to 2019

Michael P. Douglas, Stacy W. Gray, and Kathryn A. Phillips

Background: Clinical adoption of the sequencing of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) for cancer has rapidly increased in recent years. This sequencing is used to select targeted therapy and monitor nonresponding or progressive tumors to identify mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. Our study objective was to review available coverage policies for cancer ctDNA–based testing panels to examine trends from 2015 to 2019. Methods: We analyzed publicly available private payer policies and Medicare national coverage determinations and local coverage determinations (LCDs) for ctDNA-based panel tests for cancer. We coded variables for each year representing policy existence, covered clinical scenario, and specific ctDNA test covered. Descriptive analyses were performed. Results: We found that 38% of private payer coverage policies provided coverage of ctDNA-based panel testing as of July 2019. Most private payer policy coverage was highly specific: 87% for non–small cell lung cancer, 47% for EGFR gene testing, and 79% for specific brand-name tests. There were 8 final, 2 draft, and 2 future effective final LCDs (February 3 and March 15, 2020) that covered non–FDA-approved ctDNA-based tests. The draft and future effective LCDs were the first policies to cover pan-cancer use. Conclusions: Coverage of ctDNA-based panel testing for cancer indications increased from 2015 to 2019. The trend in private payer and Medicare coverage is an increasing number of coverage policies, number of positive policies, and scope of coverage. We found that Medicare coverage policies are evolving to pan-cancer uses, signifying a significant shift in coverage frameworks. Given that genomic medicine is rapidly changing, payers and policymakers (eg, guideline developers) will need to continue to evolve policies to keep pace with emerging science and standards in clinical care.

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Private Payer and Medicare Coverage Policies for Use of Circulating Tumor DNA Tests in Cancer Diagnostics and Treatment

Michael P. Douglas, Meera V. Ragavan, Cheng Chen, Anika Kumar, Stacy W. Gray, Collin M. Blakely, and Kathryn A. Phillips

Background: Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is used to select initial targeted therapy, identify mechanisms of therapeutic resistance, and measure minimal residual disease (MRD) after treatment. Our objective was to review private and Medicare coverage policies for ctDNA testing. Methods: Policy Reporter was used to identify coverage policies (as of February 2022) from private payers and Medicare Local Coverage Determinations (LCDs) for ctDNA tests. We abstracted data regarding policy existence, ctDNA test coverage, cancer types covered, and clinical indications. Descriptive analyses were performed by payer, clinical indication, and cancer type. Results: A total of 71 of 1,066 total policies met study inclusion criteria, of which 57 were private policies and 14 were Medicare LCDs; 70% of private policies and 100% of Medicare LCDs covered at least one indication. Among 57 private policies, 89% specified a policy for at least 1 clinical indication, with coverage for ctDNA for initial treatment selection most common (69%). Of 40 policies addressing progression, coverage was provided 28% of the time, and of 20 policies addressing MRD, coverage was provided 65% of the time. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was the cancer type most frequently covered for initial treatment (47%) and progression (60%). Among policies with ctDNA coverage, coverage was restricted to patients without available tissue or in whom biopsy was contraindicated in 91% of policies. MRD was commonly covered for hematologic malignancies (30%) and NSCLC (25%). Of the 14 Medicare LCD policies, 64% provided coverage for initial treatment selection and progression, and 36% for MRD. Conclusions: Some private payers and Medicare LCDs provide coverage for ctDNA testing. Private payers frequently cover testing for initial treatment, especially for NSCLC, when tissue is insufficient or biopsy is contraindicated. Coverage remains variable across payers, clinical indications, and cancer types despite inclusion in clinical guidelines, which could impact delivery of effective cancer care.

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Payer Coverage for Hereditary Cancer Panels: Barriers, Opportunities, and Implications for the Precision Medicine Initiative

Julia R. Trosman, Christine B. Weldon, Michael P. Douglas, Allison W. Kurian, R. Kate Kelley, Patricia A. Deverka, and Kathryn A. Phillips

Background: Hereditary cancer panels (HCPs), testing for multiple genes and syndromes, are rapidly transforming cancer risk assessment but are controversial and lack formal insurance coverage. We aimed to identify payers' perspectives on barriers to HCP coverage and opportunities to address them. Comprehensive cancer risk assessment is highly relevant to the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), and payers' considerations could inform PMI's efforts. We describe our findings and discuss them in the context of PMI priorities. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 11 major US payers, covering >160 million lives. We used the framework approach of qualitative research to design, conduct, and analyze interviews, and used simple frequencies to further describe findings. Results: Barriers to HCP coverage included poor fit with coverage frameworks (100%); insufficient evidence (100%); departure from pedigree/family history–based testing toward genetic screening (91%); lacking rigor in the HCP hybrid research/clinical setting (82%); and patient transparency and involvement concerns (82%). Addressing barriers requires refining HCP-indicated populations (82%); developing evidence of actionability (82%) and pathogenicity/penetrance (64%); creating infrastructure and standards for informing and recontacting patients (45%); separating research from clinical use in the hybrid clinical-research setting (44%); and adjusting coverage frameworks (18%). Conclusions: Leveraging opportunities suggested by payers to address HCP coverage barriers is essential to ensure patients' access to evolving HCPs. Our findings inform 3 areas of the PMI: addressing insurance coverage to secure access to future PMI discoveries; incorporating payers' evidentiary requirements into PMI's research agenda; and leveraging payers' recommendations and experience to keep patients informed and involved.

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Myeloid Growth Factors

Jeffrey Crawford, Jeffrey Allen, James Armitage, Douglas W. Blayney, Spero R. Cataland, Mark L. Heaney, Sally Htoy, Susan Hudock, Dwight D. Kloth, David J. Kuter, Gary H. Lyman, Brandon McMahon, David P. Steensma, Saroj Vadhan-Raj, Peter Westervelt, and Michael Westmoreland

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Thyroid Carcinoma, Version 2.2022, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Robert I Haddad, Lindsay Bischoff, Douglas Ball, Victor Bernet, Erik Blomain, Naifa Lamki Busaidy, Michael Campbell, Paxton Dickson, Quan-Yang Duh, Hormoz Ehya, Whitney S. Goldner, Theresa Guo, Megan Haymart, Shelby Holt, Jason P. Hunt, Andrei Iagaru, Fouad Kandeel, Dominick M. Lamonica, Susan Mandel, Stephanie Markovina, Bryan McIver, Christopher D. Raeburn, Rod Rezaee, John A. Ridge, Mara Y. Roth, Randall P. Scheri, Jatin P. Shah, Jennifer A. Sipos, Rebecca Sippel, Cord Sturgeon, Thomas N. Wang, Lori J. Wirth, Richard J. Wong, Michael Yeh, Carly J. Cassara, and Susan Darlow

Differentiated thyroid carcinomas is associated with an excellent prognosis. The treatment of choice for differentiated thyroid carcinoma is surgery, followed by radioactive iodine ablation (iodine-131) in select patients and thyroxine therapy in most patients. Surgery is also the main treatment for medullary thyroid carcinoma, and kinase inhibitors may be appropriate for select patients with recurrent or persistent disease that is not resectable. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is almost uniformly lethal, and iodine-131 imaging and radioactive iodine cannot be used. When systemic therapy is indicated, targeted therapy options are preferred. This article describes NCCN recommendations regarding management of medullary thyroid carcinoma and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, and surgical management of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (papillary, follicular, Hürthle cell carcinoma).

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Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Version 1.2014

Susan O’Brien, Jerald P. Radich, Camille N. Abboud, Mojtaba Akhtari, Jessica K. Altman, Ellin Berman, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Michael Deininger, Steven Devine, Amir T. Fathi, Jason Gotlib, Madan Jagasia, Patricia Kropf, Joseph O. Moore, Arnel Pallera, Javier Pinilla-Ibarz, Vishnu VB. Reddy, Neil P. Shah, B. Douglas Smith, David S. Snyder, Meir Wetzler, Kristina Gregory, and Hema Sundar

The 2014 NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia recommend quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) standardized to International Scale (IS) as the preferred method for monitoring molecular response to tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. A BCR-ABL1 transcript level of 10% or less (IS) is now included as the response milestone at 3 and 6 months. Change of therapy to an alternate TKI is recommended for patients with BCR-ABL1 transcript levels greater than 10% (IS) at 3 months after primary treatment with imatinib. Continuing the same dose of TKI or switching to an alternate TKI are options for patients with BCR-ABL1 transcript levels greater than 10% (IS) at 3 months after primary treatment with dasatinib or nilotinib. The guidelines recommend 6-month evaluation with QPCR (IS) for patients with BCR-ABL1 transcript levels greater than 10% at 3 months. Monitoring with QPCR (IS) every 3 months is recommended for all patients, including those who meet response milestones at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months (BCR-ABL1 transcript level ≤10% [IS] at 3 and 6 months, complete cytogenetic response at 12 and 18 months).

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Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Version 1.2015

Susan O’Brien, Jerald P. Radich, Camille N. Abboud, Mojtaba Akhtari, Jessica K. Altman, Ellin Berman, Peter Curtin, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Michael Deininger, Steven Devine, Amir T. Fathi, Jason Gotlib, Madan Jagasia, Patricia Kropf, Joseph O. Moore, Arnel Pallera, Vishnu VB. Reddy, Neil P. Shah, B. Douglas Smith, David S. Snyder, Meir Wetzler, Kristina Gregory, and Hema Sundar

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is usually diagnosed in the chronic phase. Untreated chronic phase CML will eventually progress to advanced phase (accelerated or blast phase) CML. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been shown to induce favorable response rates in patients with accelerated and blast phase CML. The addition of TKIs to chemotherapy has also been associated with improved outcomes in patients with blast phase CML. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant remains a potentially curative option for patients with advanced phase CML, although treatment with a course of TKIs will be beneficial as a bridge to transplant. This manuscript discusses the recommendations outlined in the NCCN Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with advanced phase CML.

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Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, Version 1.2019, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Jerald P. Radich, Michael Deininger, Camille N. Abboud, Jessica K. Altman, Ellin Berman, Ravi Bhatia, Bhavana Bhatnagar, Peter Curtin, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Jason Gotlib, Gabriela Hobbs, Madan Jagasia, Hagop M. Kantarjian, Lori Maness, Leland Metheny, Joseph O. Moore, Arnel Pallera, Philip Pancari, Mrinal Patnaik, Enkhtsetseg Purev, Michal G. Rose, Neil P. Shah, B. Douglas Smith, David S. Snyder, Kendra L. Sweet, Moshe Talpaz, James Thompson, David T. Yang, Kristina M. Gregory, and Hema Sundar

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is defined by the presence of Philadelphia chromosome (Ph), resulting from a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 [t(9;22] that gives rise to a BCR-ABL1 fusion gene. CML occurs in 3 different phases (chronic, accelerated, and blast phase) and is usually diagnosed in the chronic phase. Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy is a highly effective first-line treatment option for all patients with newly diagnosed chronic phase CML (CP-CML). The selection TKI therapy should be based on the risk score, toxicity profile of TKI, patient's age, ability to tolerate therapy, and the presence of comorbid conditions. This manuscript discusses the recommendations outlined in the NCCN Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with CP-CML.

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Lung Cancer Screening

Douglas E. Wood, George A. Eapen, David S. Ettinger, Lifang Hou, David Jackman, Ella Kazerooni, Donald Klippenstein, Rudy P. Lackner, Lorriana Leard, Ann N. C. Leung, Pierre P. Massion, Bryan F. Meyers, Reginald F. Munden, Gregory A. Otterson, Kimberly Peairs, Sudhakar Pipavath, Christie Pratt-Pozo, Chakravarthy Reddy, Mary E. Reid, Arnold J. Rotter, Matthew B. Schabath, Lecia V. Sequist, Betty C. Tong, William D. Travis, Michael Unger, and Stephen C. Yang

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Prostate Cancer Early Detection, Version 2.2015

Peter R. Carroll, J. Kellogg Parsons, Gerald Andriole, Robert R. Bahnson, Daniel A. Barocas, Erik P. Castle, William J. Catalona, Douglas M. Dahl, John W. Davis, Jonathan I. Epstein, Ruth B. Etzioni, Thomas Farrington, George P. Hemstreet III, Mark H. Kawachi, Paul H. Lange, Kevin R. Loughlin, William Lowrance, Paul Maroni, James Mohler, Todd M. Morgan, Robert B. Nadler, Michael Poch, Chuck Scales, Terrence M. Shaneyfelt, Marc C. Smaldone, Geoffrey Sonn, Preston Sprenke, Andrew J. Vickers, Robert Wake, Dorothy A. Shead, and Deborah Freedman-Cass

Prostate cancer represents a spectrum of disease that ranges from nonaggressive, slow-growing disease that may not require treatment to aggressive, fast-growing disease that does. The NCCN Guidelines for Prostate Cancer Early Detection provide a set of sequential recommendations detailing a screening and evaluation strategy for maximizing the detection of prostate cancer that is potentially curable and that, if left undetected, represents a risk to the patient. The guidelines were developed for healthy men who have elected to participate in the early detection of prostate cancer, and they focus on minimizing unnecessary procedures and limiting the detection of indolent disease.