SUPERSEDED Local Coverage Determination (LCD)

MolDX: Prostate Cancer Genomic Classifier Assay for Men with Localized Disease


Expand All | Collapse All
Proposed LCD
Proposed LCDs are works in progress that are available on the Medicare Coverage Database site for public review. Proposed LCDs are not necessarily a reflection of the current policies or practices of the contractor.
To see the currently-in-effect version of this document, go to the section.

Document Note

Note History

Contractor Information

LCD Information

Document Information

Source LCD ID
Original ICD-9 LCD ID
Not Applicable
LCD Title
MolDX: Prostate Cancer Genomic Classifier Assay for Men with Localized Disease
Proposed LCD in Comment Period
Source Proposed LCD
Original Effective Date
For services performed on or after 11/09/2020
Revision Effective Date
For services performed on or after 12/29/2022
Revision Ending Date
Retirement Date
Notice Period Start Date
Notice Period End Date

CPT codes, descriptions, and other data only are copyright 2023 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/HHSARS apply.

Fee schedules, relative value units, conversion factors and/or related components are not assigned by the AMA, are not part of CPT, and the AMA is not recommending their use. The AMA does not directly or indirectly practice medicine or dispense medical services. The AMA assumes no liability for data contained or not contained herein.

Current Dental Terminology © 2023 American Dental Association. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2024, the American Hospital Association, Chicago, Illinois. Reproduced with permission. No portion of the AHA copyrighted materials contained within this publication may be copied without the express written consent of the AHA. AHA copyrighted materials including the UB‐04 codes and descriptions may not be removed, copied, or utilized within any software, product, service, solution, or derivative work without the written consent of the AHA. If an entity wishes to utilize any AHA materials, please contact the AHA at 312‐893‐6816.

Making copies or utilizing the content of the UB‐04 Manual, including the codes and/or descriptions, for internal purposes, resale and/or to be used in any product or publication; creating any modified or derivative work of the UB‐04 Manual and/or codes and descriptions; and/or making any commercial use of UB‐04 Manual or any portion thereof, including the codes and/or descriptions, is only authorized with an express license from the American Hospital Association. The American Hospital Association (the "AHA") has not reviewed, and is not responsible for, the completeness or accuracy of any information contained in this material, nor was the AHA or any of its affiliates, involved in the preparation of this material, or the analysis of information provided in the material. The views and/or positions presented in the material do not necessarily represent the views of the AHA. CMS and its products and services are not endorsed by the AHA or any of its affiliates.


Issue Description

This LCD outlines limited coverage for this service with specific details under Coverage Indications, Limitations and/or Medical Necessity.

Issue - Explanation of Change Between Proposed LCD and Final LCD

CMS National Coverage Policy

Title XVIII of the Social Security Act (SSA), §1862(a)(1)(A), states that no Medicare payment shall be made for items or services that are not reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member.

42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §410.32 Diagnostic x-ray tests, diagnostic laboratory tests, and other diagnostic tests: Conditions.

CMS Internet-Only Manual, Publication 100-02, Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, Chapter 15, §§80.0, 80.1.1, 80.2 Clinical Laboratory services.


Coverage Guidance

Coverage Indications, Limitations, and/or Medical Necessity

This is a limited coverage policy for Genomic derived tests that assess risk in localized (non-metastatic) prostate cancer. The review is focused on the Decipher® Prostate Cancer Classifier Assay (identified as Decipher® to follow). The test is considered reasonable and necessary to help identify men with localized Prostate Cancer and a life expectancy of at least 10 years who are good candidates for active surveillance according to the most recent National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines.

Decipher® is covered for men with prostate cancer:

With localized or biochemically recurrent adenocarcinoma of the prostate (i.e. no clinical evidence of metastasis) who have a life expectancy of greater than or equal to 10 years if they are a candidate for and are considering (or being considered for) at least one of the following:

  • Conservative management and yet would be eligible for definitive therapy (radical prostatectomy (RP), radiation or brachytherapy), or;
  • Radiation therapy and yet would be eligible for the addition of a brachytherapy boost, or;
  • Radiation therapy and yet would be eligible for the addition of short-term androgen deprivation therapy(ADT), or;
  • Radiation therapy with short-term ADT yet would be eligible for the use of long term ADT, or;
  • Radiation with standard ADT yet would be eligible for systemic therapy intensification using next generation androgen signaling inhibitors or chemotherapy, or;
  • Observation post-prostatectomy yet would be eligible for the addition of post-operative adjuvant radiotherapy, or;
  • Salvage radiotherapy post-prostatectomy yet would be eligible for the addition of ADT.

The following criteria must also be met for coverage:

  • The assay is performed on formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) prostate biopsy tissue with at least 0.5 mm of linear tumor diameter or FFPE tissue from a prostate resection specimen, and;
  • Result will be used to determine treatment according to established practice guidelines, and;
  • Patient has not received pelvic radiation or ADT prior to the biopsy or prostate resection specimen, and;
  • Patient is monitored for disease progression according to established standard of care

Other genomic tests that demonstrate an equivalent analytical validity and clinical validity will be considered reasonable and necessary for the same indications. Analytical and clinical validity will be assessed as part of a thorough and comprehensive technical assessment (TA) by the MolDX program and will similarly attain coverage for indications that are supported by the evidence and intended use within the scope of this policy.

Summary of Evidence


In 2017, over 160,000 men in the United States (U.S.) were diagnosed with prostate cancer, which accounted for 9.6% of all new cancer diagnoses.1 Clinically localized prostate cancer accounts for ~80% of newly diagnosed cases.1 The NCCN, classifies these men into risk groups based on clinical and pathological features, which are intended to be used in conjunction with life expectancy estimates to select optimal treatment approaches.2 Prostate cancer is a heterogeneous disease, which to better risk stratify this patient cohort was the creation of favorable and unfavorable intermediate risk disease groups developed by Zumsteg and Spratt at Memorial Sloan Kettering, now adopted by NCCN guidelines.3 Recommendations for the treatment of prostate cancer are made based on the risk category of the cancer and additional considerations as noted in Table 1 below.

The primary treatment decisions in localized prostate cancer that are guided by prognosis are the use of definitive therapy versus conservative management with active surveillance, the addition of ADT to radiotherapy, the addition of brachytherapy to external beam radiotherapy, the use of long versus short-term ADT with radiotherapy, and the incorporation of newer forms of more potent ADT such as abiraterone.2 Similarly, the primary treatment decisions after a patient has undergone a RP include the addition of adjuvant radiotherapy and addition of ADT to post-operative salvage radiotherapy. These treatment recommendations are based on multiple trials, though these guidelines provide little guidance regarding how to select the optimal therapy including how best to personalize treatment intensification or de-escalation.

Table 1: NCCN 2018 V4 - Localized Prostate Cancer Risk Stratification and Treatment


Risk Category

Very Low


Favorable Intermediate

Unfavorable Intermediate

High/Very high

Clinical/ pathologic features

  • T1c AND
  • Gleason score ≤6/grade group 1 AND
  • PSA <10 ng/mL AND
  • Fewer than 3 prostate biopsy fragments/cores positive, ≤50% cancer in each fragment/core AND
  • PSA density <0.15 ng/mL/g
  • T1-T2a AND
  • Gleason score ≤6/grade group 1 AND
  • PSA <10 ng/mL
  • T2b-T2c OR
  • Gleason score 3+4=7/grade group 2 OR
  • PSA 10-20 ng/mL AND
  • Percentage of positive biopsy cores <50%
  • T2b-T2c OR
  • Gleason score 3+4=7/grade group 2 or Gleason score 4+3=7/grade group 3 OR
  • PSA 10-20 ng/mL


  • T3a OR
  • Gleason score 8/grade group 4 or Gleason score 4+5=9/grade group 5 OR
  • PSA >20 ng/mL

Very high:

  • T3b-T4 OR
  • Primary Gleason pattern 5 OR
  • >4 cores with Gleason score 8-10/grade group 4 or 5

Treatment Options

≥20 y life expectancy

  • Active surveillance
  • EBRT or brachytherapy
  • RP ± PLND (if predicted probability of lymph node metastasis≥ 2%)

≥10 y life expectancy

  • Active surveillancea
  • Active surveillance
  • EBRT or brachytherapy alone
  • RP ± PLND (if predicted probability of lymph node metastasis≥ 2%)
  • Active surveillance
  • EBRT or brachytherapy alone
  • RP ± PLND (if predicted probability of lymph node metastasis≥ 2%)
  • RP ± PLND (if predicted probability of lymph node metastasis≥ 2%)
  • EBRT +ADT (4-6 mo)
  • EBRT +brachytherapy ± ADT (4-6 mo)

<10 y life expectancy

  • Observation
  • Observation
  • EBRT or brachytherapy
  • Observation
  • EBRT +brachytherapy ± ADT (4-6 mo)
  • Observation

>5 y life expectancy

  • EBRT+ADT (2-3 y)
  • EBRT + brachytherapy + ADT (1-3 y)
  • RP + PLND









































aActive surveillance recommended for patients with 10-20 years life expectancy

PSA – Prostate Specific Antigen; EBRT – External Beam Radiation Therapy; RP – Radical Prostatectomy; PLND – Pelvic Lymph Node Dissection; ADT – Androgen Deprivation Therapy

Use of these stratification and treatment approaches has led to high cure rates for early stage prostate cancer, yet it is widely accepted that many men are over-treated to achieve this cure rate. In the Prostate Cancer Intervention Versus Observation (PIVOT) trial4, men with early prostate cancer, initially randomized to RP or observation, showed that over 12 years there was no difference in absolute mortality between the groups. However, this study was hampered by several factors including:

  • Only 731 of 5,023 eligible patients chose to participate in the study based on randomization criteria.
  • In the group randomized to RP: only 85% of the men received definitive therapy (79% surgery; 6% other).
  • In the observational group: 10% of the observation group received RP initially and additional 20% eventual received definitive treatment.
  • Despite broad inclusion criteria, > 50% of patients had a PSA of <10 (median PSA of 7) and had biopsy proven T1c disease. Although there were a significant number of patients with Gleason score ≥7 (25%), 40% of men were classified initially as being low-risk; and 30% were intermediate.

Although subgroups were small, it appears that high-risk groups (including those with PSA > 10) benefitted from RP. Furthermore, there was a trend for the intermediate risk patients to benefit from RP as well. The small number of patients willing to enter the study, and the high rate of crossover (both initially and subsequently) demonstrates the difficulty of doing observation trials in the U.S.

Recent results from the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial of men with primarily low-risk prostate cancer randomized to active surveillance or intervention with local therapy also highlight risks for men deferring initial therapy. At a median of 10 years, death from prostate cancer was low irrespective of the treatment assigned. However, roughly 20% of men randomized to active surveillance experienced disease progression to an incurable state (including metastatic disease, locally advanced prostate cancer and need for long term chemical castration), a two-fold increase compared to men treated with local therapy.5 In spite of the fact that a sizeable portion of men managed with active surveillance will experience disease progression to an incurable state, evidence also suggests that active surveillance is under used. Data from the U.S. National Cancer Data Base and the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) summarized prostate cancer diagnosis and management in the U.S., including changes over time. Although the use of active surveillance for men with low-risk prostate cancer increased over time, it was utilized in only 18.4-40% of patients despite societal guidelines supporting its use in this population. In the intermediate risk group, active surveillance was pursued in only 4-8% of patients.6,7

In summary, research shows refinement of the current risk stratification techniques, techniques based on clinical and pathologic variables, could potentially allow for a better assessment of a patient’s risk of a poor outcome in the absence of treatment, thereby avoiding unnecessary treatment in men who are at a lower risk of disease progression to an incurable state. The availability of molecular diagnostic tests that provide a more accurate prediction of oncologic endpoints like 10-year disease specific mortality, compared to standard clinical and pathologic features, provides an opportunity to refine risk stratification and may identify men who may safely pursue active surveillance and increase physician/patient confidence in that choice or pursue treatment intensification for those identified at elevated risk for disease progression. The benefits associated with active surveillance and foregoing immediate intervention for appropriate men include a reduction in treatment related complications and avoidance of adverse events.

For men that progress beyond biochemically recurrent prostate cancer to non-metastatic castrate-resistant, there are multiple treatment options including standard ADT versus intensified next-generation ADT with enzalutamide or apalutamide with minimal guidance on who needs these expensive therapies. Finally for men with castration naïve metastatic prostate cancer, treatment options include observation, endocrine therapies, or orchiectomy.2 While, consideration of the adverse effects associated with each of these therapies is a recommended consideration, there is limited data in existing guidelines to support a particular risk stratification approach based on clinical and pathological features. However, risk of metastatic progression or death from disease remain important considerations in decisions on treatment intensity.2

Decipher® Prostate Cancer Classifier Assay

Test Description

Decipher® Prostate is a 22 gene genomic classifier microarray assay, measuring the expression of over 1.4 million RNAs (from coding and non-coding genes). The assay is performed on FFPE prostate cancer tumor tissue from diagnostic biopsy needle cores or prostate resection tissue (Transurethral resection (TUR) or prostatectomy). The assay results are reported as a genomic classifier (GC) score based on gene expression using a machine-learning algorithm. The molecular pathways represented include proliferation/cell death, invasion & metastasis, androgen signaling, immune activity & response, growth & differentiation, angiogenesis and metabolism functions.

The test can be used to further risk stratify patients providing both a continuous score and a categorization of that score into low, average or high-risk with associated probabilities of high-grade disease, 5-year metastatic risk and 10-year prostate cancer specific mortality.

Test Performance

Several clinical studies of patients with NCCN very low, low, or intermediate risk prostate cancer who were potential candidates for active surveillance demonstrate:

    • Decipher® is an independent and significant predictor of prostate cancer tumor aggressiveness. The assay was clinically validated as a biopsy-based predictor of adverse pathology at RP (high-grade disease, pT3b or higher, or lymph node invasion), metastasis, and prostate cancer-specific mortality.
    • Decipher® outperforms clinical and pathological risk factors currently used in standard practice (including pre-treatment PSA, clinical stage, Gleason Score/grade group or nomograms) and assesses underlying biology from very small biopsy tumor volumes, while also addressing issues of biopsy under-sampling, to predict disease aggressiveness.
    • In men with NCCN intermediate risk prostate cancer, Decipher® classified low-risk patients had a low rate of adverse pathology, similar to NCCN very low or low-risk. Decipher® high-risk patients, however, had a significantly higher rate of adverse pathology as compared to NCCN very low or low-risk.
    • In addition, men with NCCN intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer and a Decipher® score of <0.45 have a low-risk of developing metastases and/or prostate cancer specific death at 10 years.
    • Decipher® enables physicians to determine a) which patients with prostate cancer are candidates for active surveillance and are more likely to have a good outcome without immediate definitive treatment and b) which patients may receive the oncologic benefits of immediate or intensified treatment modalities.

Clinical Validation for Adverse Pathology

Three validation studies prospectively validated Decipher® as a significant predictor of adverse pathology at RP in men who were candidates for active surveillance. Patients with adverse pathology such as high-grade disease, pT3b or higher or lymph node invasion are at increased recurrence and metastasis risk, and not suitable for active surveillance candidates.

Kim et al8 examined the ability of Decipher® to predict adverse pathology in 266 men with NCCN very low, low and favorable intermediate risk patients.8 Decipher® was an independent predictor of adverse pathology (OR, 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-1.61; p=0.025) in multivariable analysis (MVA). Decipher® risk group was associated with adverse pathology rate; 10.5% in Decipher® low-risk men and 19.1% in Decipher® intermediate/high-risk men. The authors also showed that a Decipher® score below the threshold of 0.45 (upper-bound of the Decipher® low-risk) had a negative predictive value (NPV) of 91%, and a Decipher® score below the threshold of 0.2 had an NPV of 96%.

Klein et al9 clinically validated Decipher® as a significant predictor of adverse pathology at RP (OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.06–2.32; p=0.02) in a cohort (n=57) balanced for NCCN low-risk (40%), intermediate risk (47%) and high/unknown risk (13%) patients.9 The study also showed that Decipher® has a c-index of 0.71 (95% CI, 0.56-0.86) for predicting adverse pathology at RP.

Clinical Validation for Metastasis

Several clinical validation studies demonstrated the high discrimination of Decipher® for predicting lymph node involvement or metastasis. Recently, a study led by investigators at the University of California San Francisco Xu et al10 confirmed the ability of Decipher® to predict metastatic lymph node involvement in a cohort of 91 NCCN intermediate and high-risk disease patients. In MVA adjusting for clinical risk factors, the study showed that for every 10% increase in Decipher® score was associated with an approximate 33-35% increase in the odds of harboring lymph node involvement as assessed on subsequent68 Ga-Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA)-11 PET scan.10

Berlin et al11 investigated Decipher® in an intermediate risk prostate cancer cohort (n=121) treated uniformly with 78 Gy image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy but without use of any neoadjuvant or adjuvant hormone therapy or brachytherapy boost. The cohort consisted primarily of NCCN favorable (27%) and unfavorable (72%) intermediate risk disease patients. Decipher® reclassified 72% of the cohort as low genomic risk. Berlin et al11 reported that Decipher® was a significant predictor of 5-year metastasis (HR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.24-4.24; p=0.004) in multivariable models adjusting for NCCN risk groups. Also, the authors demonstrated that Decipher® was significantly more accurate than existing NCCN clinical criteria to predict metastasis (Decipher® AUC 0.86 vs. NCCN AUC 0.54). Finally, the study showed a 0% 5-year cumulative incidence of metastasis in Decipher® low-risk men but 14.3% in Decipher® high-risk men.11

Spratt et al12 demonstrated how the combination of NCCN and Decipher® risk groups using a simple summation method to create a novel clinical-genomic risk system can dramatically improve risk stratification for clinically localized prostate cancer patients. In the biopsy cohort (n=235) consisting primarily of unfavorable intermediate (40%) and high (35%) risk patients, the clinical-genomic model had an AUC of 0.84 (95% CI, 0.61-0.93) compared to 0.74 (95% CI, 0.65-0.84) with CAPRA alone for prediction of metastasis at 10 years post definitive treatment. Compared with clinical-genomic low-risk group, the hazard ratio for metastasis was 21.3 (95% CI, 2.8-2728; p<0.001) and 62.5 (95% CI, 8.5-7970; p<0.001) for clinical-genomic intermediate and high-risk groups, respectively. In combination with NCCN, men with low clinical-genomic risk had 10-year cumulative incidence of metastasis of 0% compared to 25.9% and 55.2% for clinical-genomic intermediate and high-risk groups, respectively (p<0.001). Further in a subset analysis, men with both Decipher® low and NCCN low or favorable intermediate risk disease had 100% metastasis free survival at 10 years.12

Nguyen et al13 studied the validity of Decipher® for predicting metastasis for men treated with definitive radiation (i.e., external beam radiation therapy and/or brachytherapy with neoadjuvant ADT). The cohort (n=100) consisted of NCCN intermediate (55%) and high (45%) risk group patients. In MVA, each 0.1 unit increase in Decipher® score was significantly associated with time to distant metastasis (HR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.06-1.78, p=0.014). Decipher® had a c-index of 0.76 (95% CI, 0.57-0.89) for predicting metastasis at 5 years post definitive radiation, greater than NCCN risk groups and CAPRA clinical risk model alone. Finally, the authors performed a sensitivity analysis and found in survival analysis that for patients with a Decipher® score <0.2, there were no metastatic events at 10 years post definitive radiation and suggested that these men may be candidates for de-intensification of therapy. Furthermore, the study showed Decipher® classified 26% of NCCN intermediate and high-risk men to Decipher® high-risk with a resulting 19.5% 5-year cumulative incidence of metastasis compared to 6.3% for Decipher® low-risk patients. The authors concluded that the Decipher® high-risk men would be good candidates for more potent systemic therapies and further that a significant portion of men in this cohort perhaps were over treated with hormone therapy.13

In a follow-on study led by the Dana-Farber group, Nguyen et al14 further demonstrated the ability of Decipher® to predict metastasis after definitive therapy. The cohort consisted primarily of 54% NCCN intermediate and 32% NCCN high-risk treated with either definitive surgery (n=105) or radiation (n=130). Decipher® reclassified 60% of these patients to low genomic risk, 18% as intermediate and 23% classified as high-risk. In MVA, Decipher® was a significant predictor of metastasis (HR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.15-1.69; p=0.001) after adjusting for NCCN risk groups. The c-index for predicting 5-year metastasis was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.63-0.83) for Decipher®, which was substantially better than 0.60 (95% CI, 0.50-0.69) for the CAPRA clinical risk model and 0.66 (95% CI, 0.53-0.77) for NCCN risk groups. In this study, the Decipher® low-risk group had favorable outcomes with 5-year metastasis rate of only 4.1% compared to 21.0% in those with Decipher® high-risk.14

Klein et al9 found similar performance of Decipher® for predicting short and long-term oncological outcomes when measured in tumor tissue from diagnostic biopsy as compared to their original study in RP tissue. In MVA, Decipher® was shown to be a significant predictor of metastasis (HR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.09-2.55; p=0.01) after adjusting for NCCN risk groups. Decipher® alone had an improved c-index for 10-year metastasis risk post RP of 0.80 (95% CI, 0.63-0.94) compared to NCCN model alone (c-index, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.64-0.87). The c-index for Decipher® plus NCCN model was much higher at 0.88 (95% CI, 0.77-0.96). Additionally, Decipher® was a significant predictor of 5-year metastasis post RP with c-index of 0.87 (95% CI, 0.76-0.97). Decipher® reclassified 48% of NCCN intermediate clinical risk men as low genomic risk and none of these patients developed metastasis on study follow-up.9

Clinical Validation for Prostate Cancer-Specific Mortality

Decipher® was also validated as a significant predictor of prostate cancer-specific mortality. Using univariable analysis, Nguyen et al14 showed that Decipher® was a significant predictor of prostate cancer-specific mortality (HR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.03–2.48; p=0.037). Decipher® risk group was associated with 10-year cumulative incidence of prostate cancer-specific mortality—0% in men with Decipher® low-risk vs. 9.4% in those with Decipher® high-risk.14



End Point





MVA Effect Size

(95% CI, p-value)

AUC (95% CI)a


Clinical Riskc


Clinical Riskc + Decipher®



Adverse pathologyd

Kim et al8

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Disease


OR 1.29

(1.03-1.61, p=0.025)


(0.47-0.68) [CAPRA]





Klein et al9



OR 1.52

(1.06-2.32, p=0.02)






Biochemical Failure

Berlin et al11

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys


HR 1.36

(1.09-1.71, p=0.007)



[NCCN, 5yr]
















Xu et al10

Eur Urol Oncolh

OR 1.33

(1.04-1.71, p=0.02)




Berlin et al11

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys


HR 2.05

(1.24-4.24, p=0.004)



[NCCN, 5yr]







Spratt et al12

J Clin Onc

N= 235

HR 21.3

(2.8-2728, p<0.001)


(8.5-7970, p<0.001)j

[CGRG Int, High ref: Low]



[CAPRA, 10yr]






Nguyen et al13

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Disease


HR 1.37

(1.06-1.78, p=0.014)



[NCCN, 5yr]





Nguyen et al14

Eur Urol


HR 1.39

(1.15-1.69, p=0.001)


(0.53–0.77) [NCCN, 5yr]


(0.63- 0.83)





Klein et al9



HR 1.66

(1.09-2.55, p=0.01)



[NCCN, 10yr]







Klein et al9



OR 1.93

(1.10-3.91, p=0.02)




[5 yr]


Prostate Cancer- Specific Mortality

Nguyen et al14

Eur Urol


HR 1.57

(1.03-2.48, p=0.037)l




[10 yr]


MVA = multivariable analysis; CI = confidence interval; HR = hazard ratio; OR = odds ratio; ref = reference group; NR = not reported; CGRG = Clinical Genomic Risk Groups.


a. Time is specified in square bracket if time-dependent AUC is reported.

b. Hazard ratios or odds ratios of Decipher® were reported per 10% increase in score.

c. Clinical risk model (indicated in square bracket) selected was the best reported comparator (highest AUC).

d. Klein et al9 Urology: primary Gleason pattern 4 or 5 (high grade disease); Kim et al8 Prostate Cancer Prostatic Disease: primary Gleason pattern 4 or 5, pT3b or higher, or LNI.

e. The result reported is based on the OR of NCCN favorable intermediate and Decipher® high-risk group compared to NCCN very low/low.

f. AUCs of MVA models were corrected for optimism.

g. 10 year mortality prediction.

h. The end point reported was lymph node involvement defined as PSMA-avid pelvic nodal involvement.

i. The results reported are based on a clinical genomic point-based system that combines NCCN and Decipher® risk groups.

j. The end point reported was metastasis within 5 years.

Guideline Review

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guideline in Oncology for Prostate Cancer notes that molecular assays may be able to reduce the uncertainty about the risk of disease progression, but no tests have been studied with randomized controlled trials.

Analysis of Evidence (Rationale for Determination)

Numerous prior Medicare coverage decisions have considered the evidence in the hierarchical framework of Fryback and Thornbury15 where Level 2 addresses diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of the test; Level 3 focuses on whether the information produces change in the physician's diagnostic thinking; Level 4 concerns the effect on the patient management plan and Level 5 measures the effect of the diagnostic information on patient outcomes. To apply this same hierarchical framework to analyze an in vitro diagnostic test, we utilized the ACCE Model Process for Evaluating Genetic Tests.16 The practical value of a diagnostic test can only be assessed by taking into account subsequent health outcomes. When a proven, well established association or pathway is available, intermediate health outcomes may also be considered. For example, if a particular diagnostic test result can be shown to change patient management and other evidence has demonstrated that those patient management changes improve health outcomes, then those separate sources of evidence may be sufficient to demonstrate positive health outcomes from the diagnostic test.

In the treatment of prostate cancer, a number of treatment approaches have shown potential benefits for survival, but also significant adverse events. Therefore, the risk of a patient having an unfavorable outcome due to prostate cancer within the patient’s expected lifetime is at the core of the management of prostate cancer. Patients at a higher risk are recommended to have a greater intensity of treatment. For the treatment of localized prostate cancer there is a well-established risk stratification scheme based on clinical and pathological factors, though even within a single risk stratum there is significant variability, which Decipher® has shown the ability to further stratify. There are also numerous potential treatment options of varying levels of intensity with varying severities of side effects, so the potential benefit of treatment, which is heavily driven by risk stratum, must be weighed against the downsides of therapy. For patients with recurrent or metastatic disease there are also a number of effective treatment options of varying intensity, also associated with varying severities of adverse events. While there are no randomized controlled trials of outcomes using the Decipher® test, numerous studies from different institutions have all had similar and consistent findings, providing evidence that this test accurately risk stratifies patients based on genetic information and accurately predicts risk of biochemical recurrence, metastatic disease, or prostate-cancer specific mortality. Given that existing treatment paradigms are heavily reliant upon risk assessment, the ability to accurately risk stratify has potential utility in the management of prostate cancer. As such, this test provides clinically actionable incremental information that fits into existing evidence-based or consensus-recommended prostate cancer treatment paradigms.

Since this test helps inform clinicians at a decision point regarding the need for treatment in the existing consensus treatment guidelines, the clinical utility of this test hinges on both the framework’s treatment recommendations, and a certain level of decision uncertainty that accompanies treatment decisions within this framework. As such, this contractor will continue to monitor evidence and consensus recommendations regarding optimal selection of treatment intensity, and coverage may be re-evaluated following any substantial new evidentiary developments or guideline changes regarding the treatment of patients who are currently considered to have unfavorable intermediate risk prostate cancer. Such changes may include a new treatment paradigm or the development of a risk-stratification tool for which high quality, strength, and weight evidence shows improved outcomes and obviates the need for previously developed tests.

Proposed Process Information

Synopsis of Changes
Changes Fields Changed
Associated Information
Sources of Information
Open Meetings
Meeting Date Meeting States Meeting Information
Contractor Advisory Committee (CAC) Meetings
Meeting Date Meeting States Meeting Information
MAC Meeting Information URLs
Proposed LCD Posting Date
Comment Period Start Date
Comment Period End Date
Reason for Proposed LCD
Requestor Information
This request was MAC initiated.
Requestor Name Requestor Letter
View Letter
Contact for Comments on Proposed LCD

Coding Information

Bill Type Codes

Code Description

Revenue Codes

Code Description


Group 1

Group 1 Paragraph


Group 1 Codes



ICD-10-CM Codes that Support Medical Necessity

Group 1

Group 1 Paragraph:


Group 1 Codes:



ICD-10-CM Codes that DO NOT Support Medical Necessity

Group 1

Group 1 Paragraph:


Group 1 Codes:



Additional ICD-10 Information

General Information

Associated Information
Sources of Information
  1. Sanda MG, Dunn RL, Michalski J, et al. Quality of life and satisfaction with outcome among prostate-cancer survivors. N Engl J Med. 2008;358(12):1250-1261.
  2. National Comprehensive Cancer Care Network (NCCN). NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Prostate Cancer. Version 4. 2018. Accessed 11/22/2021.
  3. Zumsteg ZS, Spratt DE, Pei I, et al. A new risk classification system for therapeutic decision making with intermediate-risk prostate cancer patients undergoing dose-escalated external-beam radiation therapy. Eur Urol. 2013;64(6):895-902.
  4. Wilt TJ, Jones KM, Barry MJ, et al. Follow-up of prostatectomy versus observation for early prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2017;377(2):132-142.
  5. Hamdy FC, Donovan JL, Lane JA, et al. 10-year outcomes after monitoring, surgery, or radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(15):1415-1424.
  6. Cooperberg MR, Erho N, Chan JM, et al. The diverse genomic landscape of clinically low-risk prostate cancer. Eur Urol. 2018;74(4):444-452.
  7. Maurice MJ, Kim SP, Abouassaly R. Current status of prostate cancer diagnosis and management in the United States. JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(11):1505-1507.
  8. Kim HL, Li P, Huang HC, et al. Validation of the decipher test for predicting adverse pathology in candidates for prostate cancer active surveillance. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2019;22:399-405.
  9. Klein EA, Haddad Z, Yousefi K, et al. Decipher genomic classifier measured on prostate biopsy predicts metastasis risk. Urology. 2016;90:148-152.
  10. Xu MJ, Kornberg Z, Gadzinski AJ, et al. Genomic risk predicts molecular imaging-detected metastatic nodal disease in prostate cancer. European Urology Oncology. 2019;2(6):685-690.
  11. Berlin A, Murgic J, Hosni A, et al. Genomic classifier for guiding treatment of intermediate-risk prostate cancers to dose-escalated image guided radiation therapy without hormone therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. . 2019;103(1):84-91.
  12. Spratt DE, Zhang J, Santiago-Jimenez M, et al. Development and validation of a novel integrated clinical-genomic risk group classification for localized prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2018;36(6):581-590.
  13. Nguyen PL, Martin NE, Choeurng V, et al. Utilization of biopsy-based genomic classifier to predict distant metastasis after definitive radiation and short-course ADT for intermediate and high-risk prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2017;20(2):186-192.
  14. Nguyen PL, Haddad Z, Ross AE, et al. Ability of a genomic classifier to predict metastasis and prostate cancer-specific mortality after radiation or surgery based on needle biopsy specimens. Eur Urol. 2017;72(5):845-852.
  15. Fryback DG, Thornbury JR. The efficacy of diagnostic imaging. Med Decis Making. 1991;11(2):88-94.
  16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACCE Model List of 44 Targeted Questions Aimed at a Comprehensive Review of Genetic Testing. 2010. Accessed 11/22/2021
  17. Bill-Axelson A, Holmberg L, Garmo H, et al. Radical prostatectomy or watchful waiting in early prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(10):932-942.
  18. Bolla M, Maingon P, Carrie C, et al. Short androgen suppression and radiation dose escalation for intermediate- and high-risk localized prostate cancer: Results of EORTC trial 22991. J Clin Oncol. 2016;34(15):1748-1756.
  19. Dearnaley D, Syndikus I, Mossop H, et al. Conventional versus hypofractionated high-dose intensity-modulated radiotherapy for prostate cancer: 5-year outcomes of the randomised, non-inferiority, phase 3 CHHiP trial. Lancet Oncol. 2016;17(8):1047-1060.
  20. Morris WJ, Tyldesley S, Rodda S, et al. Androgen suppression combined with elective nodal and dose escalated radiation therapy (the ASCENDE-RT Trial): An analysis of survival endpoints for a randomized trial comparing a low-dose-rate brachytherapy boost to a dose-escalated external beam boost for high- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017;98(2):275-285.
  21. Abdollah F, Gandaglia G, Suardi N, et al. More extensive pelvic lymph node dissection improves survival in patients with node-positive prostate cancer. Eur Urol. 2015;67(2):212-219.
  22. Donovan JL, Hamdy FC, Lane JA, et al. Patient-reported outcomes after monitoring, surgery, or radiotherapy for prostate cancer. N Engl J Med. 2016;375(15):1425-1437.
  23. Gonzalez BD, Jim HS, Booth-Jones M, et al. Course and predictors of cognitive function in patients with prostate cancer receiving androgen-deprivation rherapy: A controlled comparison. J Clin Oncol. 2015;33(18):2021-2027.
  24. Nead KT, Swisher-McClure S, Shah NH. Androgen deprivation therapy and subsequent dementia-reply. JAMA Oncol. 2017;3(7):1001-1002.
  25. O'Farrell S, Garmo H, Holmberg L, Adolfsson J, Stattin P, Van Hemelrijck M. Risk and timing of cardiovascular disease after androgen-deprivation therapy in men with prostate cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2015;33(11):1243-1251.
  26. Abdollah F, Sun M, Thuret R, et al. Decreasing rate and extent of lymph node staging in patients undergoing radical prostatectomy may undermine the rate of diagnosis of lymph node metastases in prostate cancer. Eur Urol. 2010;58(6):882-892.
  27. Lester-Coll NH, Johnson S, Magnuson WJ, et al. Weighing risk of cardiovascular mortality against potential benefit of hormonal therapy in intermediate-risk prostate cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017;109(6).

Revision History Information

Revision History Date Revision History Number Revision History Explanation Reasons for Change
12/29/2022 R2


Revision Effective Date: 02/03/2022

Revision Explanation: Annual review, no changes 

  • Other (Annual Review)
02/03/2022 R1


Revision Effective Date: 02/03/2022

Revision Explanation: Under CMS National Coverage Policy deleted CMS Internet-Only Manuals, Pub 100-02, Medicare Benefit Policy Manual, Chapter 15, §80.2. Formatting and punctuation were corrected throughout the LCD.

  • Provider Education/Guidance

Associated Documents

Related National Coverage Documents
Public Versions
Updated On Effective Dates Status
12/13/2023 12/21/2023 - N/A Currently in Effect View
12/22/2022 12/29/2022 - 12/20/2023 Superseded You are here
Some older versions have been archived. Please visit the MCD Archive Site to retrieve them.


  • Decipher
  • Prostate Cancer

Read the LCD Disclaimer