Local Coverage Determination (LCD)

In Vitro Chemosensitivity & Chemoresistance Assays

L34554

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Document Information

LCD ID
L34554
LCD Title
In Vitro Chemosensitivity & Chemoresistance Assays
Proposed LCD in Comment Period
N/A
Source Proposed LCD
DL34554
Original Effective Date
For services performed on or after 10/01/2015
Revision Effective Date
For services performed on or after 02/25/2021
Revision Ending Date
N/A
Retirement Date
N/A
Notice Period Start Date
07/26/2018
Notice Period End Date
09/09/2018
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CMS National Coverage Policy

Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, §1862(a)(1)(A) allows coverage and payment for only those services that are considered to be reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member.

Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, §1862(a)(1)(D) addresses items and services related to research and experimentation.

Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, §1862(a)(7) excludes routine physical examinations.

42 CFR §410.32 Diagnostic x-ray tests, diagnostic laboratory tests, and other diagnostic tests: Conditions

CMS Internet-Only Manual, Pub 100-03, Medicare National Coverage Determinations Manual, Chapter 1, Part 3, §190.7 Human Tumor Stem Cell Drug Sensitivity Assays

CMS Internet-Only Manual, Pub 100-08, Medicare Program Integrity Manual, Chapter 3, §3.2.3.7 Special Provisions for Lab Additional Documentation Requests

Coverage Guidance

Coverage Indications, Limitations, and/or Medical Necessity

This is a noncoverage policy for the chemosensitivity and chemoresistance assays (CSRAs).

Summary of Evidence

CSRAs
In order to avoid ineffective chemotherapy toxicity, the intent of CSRAs is to assist oncologists with the selection of chemotherapy drugs at initial diagnosis and tumor recurrence.

Chemosensitivity Assays
A chemotherapy sensitivity assay determines if a tumor growth is inhibited by a known chemotherapy drug or drug combination. Thus, the intent of the chemosensitivity assay is to assist the oncologist with effective chemotherapy agent selection.

Other names for chemosenstitivity assays include non-clonogenic or clonogenic cytotoxic drug resistance assays, tumor stem cell assays, human tumor stem cell drug sensitivity assays and differential staining cytotoxic assays. The available chemosensitivity assays listed in this policy isolate tumor cells, incubate the cells with drugs, and evaluate and interpret cell survival. The difference in these assays is determined by the processing method.

Chemosensitivity assays include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • DiSC assay (Differential staining cytotoxicity assay) – an in vitro study for hematologic malignancies. Malignant mononuclear cells are incubated with specific chemotherapeutic agents for 4 days, and then exposed to vital stain to prevent dead/dying cells from counterstaining with hematoxylin and eosin. Slides are prepared and examined by light microscopy for percent cell kill compared to untreated controls.
  • ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) assay - involves seeding known concentrations of tumor cells into microplate wells with single and combination chemotherapeutic agents. The ATP content of each well is measured after multiple days of incubation followed by addition of luciferin-luciferase to an aliquot of lysed cells in a luminometer. Luminescence measurements are directly related to ATP levels. These measurements allow determination of percent inhibition compared to controls.
  • MTT (Methyl Thiazolyl Tetrazolium) assay - determines the ability of viable cells to convert a soluble tetrazolium salt (MTT) into an insoluble formazan precipitate. Drug-induced cell death and loss of enzymatic activity generate the formazan product from the MTT.
  • HDRA® (AntiCancer Inc) Assay - a semi-automated histoculture drug response assay utilizing the MTT stain to assess drug sensitivity.
  • EVA-PCD® (Rational Therapeutics) assay - a non-proliferative assay that provides a measure of drug-induced cell death in vivo.


Chemoresistance Assays
A chemoresistance assay determines “extreme drug resistance” when tumor cell cultures are exposed to high concentrations of selected agent(s) for long exposure times. A chemoresistance assay is used to deselect potentially ineffective therapeutic agents. A single chemoresistance assay is addressed in this policy:

  • Oncotech EDR® (Exiqon Diagnostics) - an in vivo assay designed to predict the sensitivity and resistance of solid tumor cultures to a variety of increasing doses of selected chemotherapy agents. Fresh viable tumor tissue is minced and enzyme digested to disaggregate the tumor cells. The tumor cells are plated in soft agar. The cells are exposed to tumor type-specific anti-neoplastic agents for 5 days. Drug exposures in excess of the maximum clinically tolerated are used (5 to 80 times greater than in vivo). Tritiated thymidine is added during the last 2 days of culture as a measure of cell proliferation. Treated cells are compared to untreated controls. If malignant cells proliferate in vitro under extreme chemotherapeutic exposure, then in vivo exposures will be ineffective. Results are reported as low (LDR), intermediate (IDR) and extreme drug resistance (EDR). The live cells remaining post-treatment are enumerated microscopically and the resulting cell counts are compared to controls to generate a dose-response curve for each tested agent. The response curve is used to score a tumor’s response.


Studies
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) performed an extensive literature review that will not be cited in this policy on CSRAs. Their findings, published as a Tec Assessment in 2002, indicated that there was insufficient data to determine whether assay-directed chemotherapy improves health outcomes compared to empiric chemotherapy. In summary, the authors stated that well-designed trials were needed to determine whether assay-directed chemotherapy actually improves health outcomes.

Two years later, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) collaborated with BCBSA to assess the scientific literature in support of CSRA assays. Absent new evidence of clinical utility, ASCO recommended that CSRAs should not be used outside of the clinical trial setting. A second BCBSA assessment noted a higher response rate for assay-guided therapy. However, they questioned if difference was attributed to bias and confounding.

A retrospective study suggested improved progression free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in 50 consecutive platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer patients who received EDR assay-guided therapy. Study flaws include absence of blinding or randomization, small study size, and performance bias and selection. Therefore, the study does NOT establish the relative effectiveness of assay-guided treatment over empiric treatment. The authors acknowledged the study lacked adequate power for hypothesis testing and was intended for “exploratory purposes” to generate a hypothesis worthy of further study.

Additional studies after the BCBSA’s and ASCO’s assessments included a prospective blinded study on 48 patients with recurrent malignant glioma. While shortened time to progression and OS were noted, the findings were not statistically significant. The authors recommended future studies.

Using an ATP-based assay (not EDR), 147 platinum resistant patients with ovarian cancer were randomized between assay-directed chemotherapy vs physician’s choice of therapy. While improved PFS response rates were noted, there was no difference in OS between the groups. These authors recommended a larger trial.

In another study, the EDR assay results were available for 189 non-small cell lung cancer patients for the oncologist’s consideration for assay-directed therapy. In 59 of 189 patients who received post-op or adjuvant therapy, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) standard or the oncologist’s preference determined the therapy. The selected therapy was “not individualized to each patient with respect to assay results”. Forty-five patients were assessed. Patients with tumors that exhibited LDR to platinum (27 patients) were compared with patients with tumors that exhibited IDR/EDR to platinum (18 patients). In summary, 18 of 27 patients (67%) with LDR are alive; 9 of 18 patients (50%) with IDR/EDR are alive at publication. This study demonstrates a significant flaw, because therapy was not chosen or based on assay results. The authors recommended a phase III randomized clinical trial to test whether EDR assay is associated with improved survival compared with empiric chemotherapy.

Another article demonstrates EDR is common after prior exposure to paclitaxel, but does not correlate EDR assay results with clinical outcomes (clinical utility).

A prospective study of 43 patients with ovarian cancer received 6-9 cycles of platinum and taxane. PFS and OS among patients with and without EDR to platinum were not clinically significant. The authors recommended a prospective trial to select first- and second-line chemotherapy to define the clinical efficacy of the assay.

More recently, a retrospective review of 377 primary ovarian cancer patients demonstrated EDR assay results do not independently predict or alter the outcomes of patients treated with current standard of primary cytoreductive surgery followed by platinum and taxane combination chemotherapy.7 Study flaws are discussed in the letters to the editor. However, the authors of the letters to the editor admit a prospective registration trial controlling various factors will be necessary to determine the ability of an in vitro assay to truly predict response, time to progression and OS.

Two 2009 retrospective studies provide conflicting insight into the clinical utility of the EDR assay. In the first study, EDR was assessed in 253 ovarian cancer patients. Dual-resistance was defined as at least one EDR in the primary and secondary treatment groups. The authors concluded that the presence of EDR to multiple agents was not associated with OS in advanced stage epithelial ovarian, fallopian and primary peritoneal cancers. In the second study, 58 of 173 patients who underwent optimal primary cytoreduction with ovarian tumor LDR to both platinum and taxane demonstrated statistically improved PFS and OS compared with the 115 patients who demonstrated IDR or EDR to these agents.

It is noteworthy, the 2009 National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines noted that in vitro CSRAs should not be recommended due to the lack of demonstrable efficacy for choosing a chemotherapy regimen. In 2010 without supporting clinical trials, NCCN notated that CSRAs are used in some NCCN Centers. However, NCCN indicated that the current level of evidence is not sufficient to supplant standard of care chemotherapy.

July 25, 2011, The American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline updated the guidelines on the use of CSRA and posted on https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.2011.36.0354 ahead of print. "Review of the literature does not identify any CSRAs for which the evidence base is sufficient to support use in oncology practice."

Analysis of Evidence (Rationale for Determination)

Level of Evidence

Quality – Moderate
Strength – Strong
Weight - Moderate

CSRAs are considered investigational and not a covered Medicare benefit.

General Information

Associated Information

This is a non-coverage LCD. Any documentation related to these services should be legible, and maintained in the patient's medical record.

Sources of Information
N/A
Bibliography

1. American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Update on the Use of Chemotherapy Sensitivity and Resistance Assays. Jour Clin Oncol. 2011;29(24):3328-3330. The full practice guideline and additional information is available at Clinical Practice Guideline Update on the Use of Chemotherapy Sensitivity and Resistance Assays.

2. Burstein HJ, Mangu PB, Somerfield MR. American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline Update on the Use of Chemotherapy Sensitivity and Resistance Assays. Jour Clin Oncol. 2011;29(24):3328-3330.

3. Cree IA, Kurbacher CM, Lamont A, Hindley AC, Love S. Ovarian Cancer Trial Group. A prospective randomized controlled trial of tumour chemosensitivity assay directed chemotherapy versus physician’s choice in patients with recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Anticancer Drugs. 2007;18(9):1093-1101.

4. d’Amato TA, Pettiford BL, Schuchert MJ, et al. Survival Among Patients With Platinum Resistant, Locally Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer treated With Platinum-Based Systemic Therapy. Ann Surg Oncol. 20;16(10):2848-2855.

5. Einenkel J, Wuttke P, Horn K. Should the extreme drug resistance assay fade into oblivion? Commentary on Karam AK, Chiang JW, Fung E, Nossov V and Karlan BY. Extreme drug resistance assay results do not influence survival in women with epithelial ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2010;116(1)148-9.

6. Eltabbakh GH, Piver MS, Hempling RE, et al. Correlation Between Extreme Drug Resistance Assay and Response to Primary Paclitaxel and Cisplatin in Patients With Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 1998;70(3):392-397.

7. Eltabbakh GH. Extreme Drug Resistance Assay and Response to Chemotherapy in Patients with Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma. Jour Surg Oncol. 2000;73(3):148-152.

8. Fung-Kee-Fung M, Oliver T, Elit L, Oza A, Hirte HW, Bryson P. Optimal chemotherapy treatment for women with recurrent ovarian cancer. Current Oncol. 2007;14(5):195-208.

9. Geisler JP, Linnemeier GC, Thomas AJ, Manahan KJ. Extreme drug resistance is common after prior exposure to Paclitaxel. Gynecol Oncol. 2007;106(3):538-540.

10. Haroun RI, Clatterbuck RE, Gibbons MC, et al. Extreme drug resistance in primary brain tumors: in vitro analysis of 64 resection specimens. Jour Neuro Oncol. 2002;58(2):115-123.

11. Herzog TJ, Fader AN, Fensterer JE, Gallion HH, Krivak TC, Coleman RL. A chemoresponse assay and survival in primary ovarian cancer. Jour Clinc Oncol. 2008;26(15):16522.

12. Holloway RW, Mehta RS. Finkler NJ, et al. Association between in Vitro platinum resistance in the EDR assay and clinical outcomes for ovarian cancer patients. Gynecol Oncol. 2002;87(1):8-16.

13. Holloway RW. Extreme drug resistance assay does not influence survival in women with epithelial ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2010;116(1):147-148.

14. Karam AK, Chiang JW, Fung E, Nossov V, Karlan BY. Extreme drug resistance assay results do not influence survival in women with epithelial ovarian cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2009;114(2):246-252.

15. Kern DH, Weisenthal LM. Highly Specific Prediction of Antineoplastic Drug Resistance With an In Vitro Assay Using Suprapharmacologic Drug Exposures. Jour Natl Canc Instit. 1990;82(7):582-588.

16. Kim HS, Kim TJ, Chung HH, et al. In vitro extreme drug resistance assay to taxanes or platinum compounds for the prediction of clinical outcomes in epithelial ovarian cancer: a prospective cohort study. Jour Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2009;135(11):1513-1520.

17. Korn AM, Eddy DM. Chemotherapy Sensitivity and Resistance Assays. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center. 2002;17(12):1-39

18. Loizzi V, Chan JK, Osann K, Cappuccini F, DiSaia PJ, Berman ML. Survival outcomes in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer who were treated with chemoresistance assay-guided chemotherapy. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003;189(5):1301-1307.

19. Marchionni L, Wilson RF, Marinopoulos SS, Wolff AC, Parmigiani G, Bass EB, Goodman SN. Impact of Gene Expression Profiling Tests on Breast Cancer Outcomes. Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments No. 160. (Prepared by The Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center under contract No. 290-02-0018). AHRQ Publication No. 08-E002. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. January 2008.

20. Matsuo K, Bond VK, Eno ML, Im DD, Rosenshein NB. Low drug resistance to both platinum and taxane chemotherapy on an in vitro drug resistance assay predicts improved survival in patients with advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian and peritoneal cancer. Int Jour Cancer. 2009;125(11): 2721-2727.

21. Matsuo K, Eno ML, Im DD, Rosenshein NB, Sood AK. Clinical relevance of extent of extreme drug resistance in epithelial ovarian carcinoma. Gynecol Oncol. 2010;116(1):61-65.

22. Mehta RS, Bornstein R, Yu IR, et al. Breast cancer survival and in vitro tumor response in the extreme drug resistance assay. Breast Can Resear Treat. 2001;66(3):225-237.

23. Parker RJ, Fruehauf JP, Mehta R, Filka E, Cloughesy T. A prospective blinded study of the predictive value of an extreme drug resistance assay in patients receiving CPT-11 for recurrent glioma. Jour of Neuro-Oncol. 2004;66(3):365-375.

24. Samson DJ, Seidenfeld J, Ziegler K, Aronson N. Chemotherapy Sensitivity and Resistance Assays: A Systematic Review. Jour Clin Oncol. 2004;22(17):3618-3630.

25. Schrag D, Garewal HS, Burstein HJ, Sampson DJ, Von Hoff DD, Somerfield MR. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Technology Assessment: Chemotherapy Sensitivity and Resistance Assays. Jour Clin Oncol. 2004;22(17):3631-3638.

26. Schunemann HJ, Oxman AD, Brozek J, et al. Grading quality of evidence and strength of recommendations for diagnostic tests and strategies. BMJ. 2008;336(7653): 1006-1110. 

Revision History Information

Revision History DateRevision History NumberRevision History ExplanationReasons for Change
02/25/2021 R11

Under CMS National Coverage Policy updated description for regulation Title XVIII of Social Security Act, §1862(a)(1)(D) and revised regulation 42 CFR §410.32(d)(3) to read “42 CFR §410.32 Diagnostic x-ray tests, diagnostic laboratory tests, and other diagnostic tests: Conditions”. Under Summary of Evidence subheading Studies corrected the broken hyperlink in 12th paragraph. Under Bibliography changes were made to citations to reflect AMA citation guidelines. Formatting, punctuation and typographical errors were corrected throughout the LCD. Acronyms were inserted where appropriate throughout the LCD.

At this time 21st Century Cures Act will apply to new and revised LCDs that restrict coverage which requires comment and notice. This revision is not a restriction to the coverage determination; and, therefore not all the fields included on the LCD are applicable as noted in this policy.

  • Provider Education/Guidance
10/31/2019 R10

This LCD is being revised in order to adhere to CMS requirements per chapter 13, section 13.5.1 of the Program Integrity Manual, to remove all coding from LCDs. There has been no change in coverage with this LCD revision. Regulations regarding billing and coding were removed from the CMS National Coverage Policy section of this LCD and placed in the related Billing and Coding: In Vitro Chemosensitivity & Chemoresistance Assays A56871 article. 

At this time 21st Century Cures Act will apply to new and revised LCDs that restrict coverage which requires comment and notice. This revision is not a restriction to the coverage determination; and, therefore not all the fields included on the LCD are applicable as noted in this policy.

  • Provider Education/Guidance
08/15/2019 R9

All coding located in the Coding Information section has been moved into the related Billing and Coding: In Vitro Chemosensitivity & Chemoresistance Assays A56871 article and removed from the LCD.

At this time 21st Century Cures Act will apply to new and revised LCDs that restrict coverage which requires comment and notice. This revision is not a restriction to the coverage determination; and, therefore not all the fields included on the LCD are applicable as noted in this policy.

  • Provider Education/Guidance
09/10/2018 R8

Corrected link in first bibliography item.

  • Typographical Error
09/10/2018 R7

This LCD version was created as a result of DL34554 being released to a Final LCD. Removed "listed within this policy" from Coverage Indications, Limitations and/or Medical Necessity and "As of this policy’s effective date, the available scientific literature is conflicting and controversial. Therefore" from Analysis of Evidence (Rationale for Determination).

  • Other
05/17/2018 R6

Completed the Annual Validation. Corrected bulleting issues.

 

DATE (05/11/2018): At this time 21st Century Cures Act will apply to new and revised LCDs that restrict coverage which requires comment and notice. This revision is not a restriction to the coverage determination; and, therefore not all the fields included on the LCD are applicable as noted in this policy.

  • Typographical Error
02/26/2018 R5 The Jurisdiction "J" Part B Contracts for Alabama (10112), Georgia (10212) and Tennessee (10312) are now being serviced by Palmetto GBA. The notice period for this LCD begins on 12/14/17 and ends on 02/25/18. Effective 02/26/18, these three contract numbers are being added to this LCD. No coverage, coding or other substantive changes (beyond the addition of the 3 Part B contract numbers) have been completed in this revision.
  • Change in Affiliated Contract Numbers
06/08/2017 R4

Under Sources of Information and Basis for Decision added the supplement number “3” to the 7th cited reference “Eltabbakh GH. Extreme Drug Resistance Assay and Response to Chemotherapy in Patients with Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma. Jour Surg Oncol. 2000;73(3):148-152.

  • Provider Education/Guidance
07/14/2016 R3 Under CMS National Coverage Policy for Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, §1833(e) deleted the verbiage “no payment shall be made to any provider of services or other person under the part unless there has been furnished such information as may be necessary in order to determine the amounts due” and revised to read “prohibits Medicare payment for any claim which lacks the necessary information to process the claim.” For 42 CFR 410.32(d)(3) added the title “Diagnostic x-ray tests, diagnostic laboratory tests, and other diagnostic tests: Conditions”. For CMS Internet-Only Manual, Pub 100-02, Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, Chapter 15, §80 added the title “Requirements for Diagnostic X-Ray, Diagnostic Laboratory, and Other Diagnostic Tests” and for §80.1 added the title “Clinical Laboratory Services”. For CMS Internet-Only Manual, Pub 100-03, Medicare National Coverage Determinations Manual, Chapter 1, Part 3, §190.7 added the title “Human Tumor Stem Cell Drug Sensitivity Assays”. For CMS Internet-Only Manual, Pub 100-08, Medicare Program Integrity Manual, Chapter 3, §3.2.3.7, revised the title to now read “Special Provisions for Lab Additional Documentation Requests”. Under Coverage Indications, Limitations and/or Medical Necessity-Chemosensitivity Assays “EVA-PCD™” has changed to “EVA-PCD®” .Under Studies in the first paragraph “(BCBSA)” was added after “Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association”. In the sixth paragraph added the words “Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group” in front of “ECOG”. In the tenth paragraph changed the “ERD” to “EDR”. In the twelfth paragraph capitalized the “C” in “clinical” and removed the website “http://www.jco.org” and replaced with website “http://www.jco.rscopubs.org”. Under Sources of Information and Basis for Decision supplement numbers, page numbers and author’s names were added throughout this section.
  • Provider Education/Guidance
  • Typographical Error
10/01/2015 R2 Under CMS National Coverage Policy added reference to title XVIII of the SSA §1833(e).
Under Sources of Information and Basis for Decision corrected sources to AMA formatting and added several references for Herzog T; Haroun R; Korn A; Eltabbakh G; Marchionni L; Holloway R; Kern D; Fung-Kee-Fung M; Mehta R; Schunemann A; and Burstein H. Removed citation for National comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) articles as they are not accessible.
  • Provider Education/Guidance
  • Other (Annual Validation)
10/01/2015 R1 Under CMS National Coverage Policy, corrected the cited manual citation title for Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, §1862(a)(1)(D) and CMS Internet-Only Manual, Pub 100-03. Under Coverage Indications, Limitations and/or Medical Necessity in Studies section, corrected spelling of trial, added the word “patients” to statistics, removed numbered citation references, and added http:// to www.jco.org. Under Sources of Information and Basis for Decision, corrected references to follow AMA format. In reference 1, corrected spelling of practice, corrected title of website, changed URL to http://www.asco.org/quality-guidelines/american-society-clinical-oncology-clinical-practice-guideline-update-use and added accessed date for the URL. Added reference: Matsuo K, Eno ML, Im DD, Rosenshein N, Sood A. Clinical relevance of extent of extreme drug resistance in epithelial ovarian carcinoma. Gynecol Oncol. 2010 Jan;116(1)61-65.Changed numbering to account for added reference. Added following URL to National Comprehensive Cancer Network reference: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp.v1.2010. Also added accessed date for this URL. This revision becomes effective 10/01/2014.
  • Other (Annual review.)

Associated Documents

Attachments
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Related National Coverage Documents
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Public Versions
Updated On Effective Dates Status
02/15/2021 02/25/2021 - N/A Currently in Effect You are here
Some older versions have been archived. Please visit the MCD Archive Site to retrieve them.

Keywords

  • In Vitro
  • Chemosensitivity
  • Chemoresistance

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