The Afirma GEC is used to identify patients with benign thyroid nodules among those whose fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy results are indeterminate following traditional cytopathology review, so that they may avoid an unnecessary diagnostic surgery. The new policy brings the total number of covered lives for the genomic test to more than 260 million, including over 110 million Blues plan members. The Afirma GEC is now covered by Blues plans in 46 of the nation's 50 states.
"We are delighted that Anthem's members will now have access to the Afirma test as a covered benefit," said
Each year in the United States, more than 525,000 fine needle aspiration biopsies are performed to assess patients with potentially cancerous thyroid nodules. Up to 30 percent of the results are indeterminate (not clearly benign or malignant) and physicians have traditionally recommended thyroid surgery for a more definitive diagnosis. Following surgery, however, 70 to 80 percent of patients' nodules are diagnosed as benign, meaning the surgery was unnecessary. Such surgery is invasive, costly and often leads to the need for lifelong daily thyroid hormone replacement drugs.
The Afirma Gene Expression Classifier has become a new standard of care in thyroid cancer diagnosis, where it is used to identify patients with benign thyroid nodules among those with indeterminate cytopathology results in order to preserve the thyroid. The Afirma Genomic Sequencing Classifier (GSC), introduced in
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