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MP 2.04.45 Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Mutation Analysis for Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Medical Policy    
Section
Medicine 
Original Policy Date
4/25/06
Last Review Status/Date
Reviewed with literature search/2:2014
Issue
2:2014
  Return to Medical Policy Index

Disclaimer

Our medical policies are designed for informational purposes only and are not an authorization, or an explanation of benefits, or a contract.  Receipt of benefits is subject to satisfaction of all terms and conditions of the coverage.  Medical technology is constantly changing, and we reserve the right to review and update our policies periodically.


Description

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a receptor tyrosine kinase (TK) frequently overexpressed and activated in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Mutations in 2 regions of the EGFR gene (exons 18-24) —small deletions in exon 19 and a point mutation in exon 21 (L858R)—appear to predict tumor response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as erlotinib. This policy summarizes the evidence for using EGFR mutations to decide which patients with advanced NSCLC should be considered for erlotinib therapy and which are better suited for alternative therapies.

Background

Treatment options for NSCLC depend on disease stage and include various combinations of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and best supportive care. Unfortunately, in up to 85% of cases, the cancer has spread locally beyond the lungs at diagnosis, precluding surgical eradication. In addition, up to 40% of patients with NSCLC present with metastatic disease.(1) When treated with standard platinum-based chemotherapy, patients with advanced NSCLC have a median survival of 8 to 11 months and a 1-year survival of 30% to 45%.(2,3)

Laboratory and animal experiments have shown that therapeutic blockade of the EGFR pathway could be used to halt tumor growth in solid tumors that express EGFR.(4) These observations led to the development of 2 main classes of anti-EGFR agents for use in various types of cancer: small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and monoclonal antibodies that block EGFR-ligand interaction.(5)

Three orally administered EGFR-selective small molecule TKIs have been identified for use in treating NSCLC: gefitinib (Iressa®, AstraZeneca), erlotinib (Tarceva®, OSI Pharmaceuticals), and afatinib (Gilotrif™, Boehringer Ingelheim). Only erlotinib and afatinib are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); gefitinib may be continued in patients already receiving gefitinib in the U.S.

FDA Status

Erlotinib received initial FDA approval in 2004 for second-line treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC. In 2013, erlotinib indications were expanded to include first-line treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC with EGFR exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitution mutations.(6) A companion diagnostic test, the cobas® EGFR Mutation Test, was coapproved for this indication. Afatinib was FDA-approved in July 2013 for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC with EGFR exon 19 deletions or L858R mutations.(7) A companion diagnostic test, the therascreen® EGFR Rotor-Gene Q polymerase chain reaction (RGQ PCR) kit, was coapproved for this indication.

Both tests are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. FDA-approved product labels for both erlotinib and afatinib indicate that EGFR mutations must be “detected by an FDA-approved test” but do not specify which test must be used.


Policy

Except as noted below, analysis of 2 types of somatic mutation within the EGFR gene—small deletions in exon 19 and a point mutation in exon 21 (L858R)—may be considered medically necessary to predict treatment response to erlotinib or afatinib in patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma or in whom an adenocarcinoma component cannot be excluded (see Policy Guidelines sections).

Analysis of 2 types of somatic mutation within the EGFR gene—small deletions in exon 19 and a point mutation in exon 21 (L858R)—is considered investigational for patients with advanced NSCLC of squamous cell type.

Analysis for other mutations within exons 18 to 24, or other applications related to NSCLC, is considered investigational.


Policy Guidelines

The test is intended for use in patients with advanced NSCLC. Patients with either small deletions in exon 19 or a point mutation in exon 21 (L858R) of the tyrosine kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor gene are considered good candidates for treatment with erlotinib or afatinib. Patients found to be wild type are unlikely to respond to erlotinib or afatinib; other treatment options should be considered.

Current (2014) guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommend EGFR mutation testing:

  • for patients with advanced lung cancer, nonsquamous cell type; or
  • when biopsy specimens are small and histology is mixed.

Current (2014) guidelines issued jointly by the College of American Pathologists, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and Association for Molecular Pathology recommend:

  • EGFR mutation testing in patients with lung adenocarcinoma regardless of clinical characteristics (eg, smoking history);
  • In the setting of fully excised lung cancer specimens, EGFR mutation testing is not recommended in lung cancers when an adenocarcinoma component is lacking (such as pure squamous cell lacking any immunohistochemical evidence of adenocarcinomatous differentiation); and
  • In the setting of more limited lung cancer specimens (eg, biopsies, cytology) where an adenocarcinoma component cannot be completely excluded, EGFR testing may be performed in cases showing squamous cell histology. Clinical criteria (eg, young age, lack of smoking history) may be useful to select a subset of these samples for testing.

Effective in 2013, there is a specific CPT code for testing for common variants of EGFR:

81235: EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) (eg, non-small-cell lung cancer) gene analysis, common variants (eg, exon 19 LREA deletion L858R, T790M, G719A, G719S, L861Q)

Prior to the creation of code 81235, no specific CPT codes were available, and this laboratory test would likely have been coded using a series of nonspecific genetic testing codes. One laboratory website listed the following group of CPT codes for this testing: 83907, 83900(x2), 83901(x18), 83891, 83896(x29), 83898(x6), 88381, 83914(x29), 83912-26.

If testing is done by immunohistochemical assay, CPT code 88342 would likely be reported. If testing is done by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), CPT code 88365 would likely be reported.


Benefit Application
BlueCard/National Account Issues 

Currently, epidermal growth factor receptor mutational analysis is commercially available at several commercial reference laboratories.


Rationale

This policy was created in 2006 and has been updated periodically using PubMed. The most recent literature search was conducted on December 12, 2013.

Two publications(8,9) demonstrated that the underlying molecular mechanism underpinning dramatic responses in these favorably prognostic groups appeared to be the presence of activating somatic mutations in the TK domain of the EGFR gene, notably small deletions in exon 19 and a point mutation in exon 21 (L858R, indicating substitution of leucine by arginine at codon position 858). These can be detected by direct sequencing or PCR technologies.

A TEC Assessment on this topic was first published in November 2007.(10) The Assessment concluded that there was insufficient evidence to permit conclusions about the clinical validity or utility of EGFR mutation testing to predict erlotinib sensitivity or to guide treatment in patients with NSCLC. This Assessment was updated in 2010,(11) with revised conclusions indicating that EGFR mutation testing has clinical utility in selecting or deselecting patients for treatment with erlotinib.

A 2013 meta-analysis(12) of 23 trials of erlotinib, gefitinib, and afatinib in patients with advanced NSCLC reported improved progression free survival (PFS) in EGFR mutation-positive patients treated with EGFR TKIs in the first- and second-line settings and for maintenance therapy. (Comparisons were with chemotherapy, chemotherapy and placebo, and placebo in the first-line, second-line, and maintenance therapy settings, respectively.) Among EGFR mutation-negative patients, PFS was improved with EGFR TKIs compared with placebo maintenance but not in the first- and second-line settings. Overall survival (OS) did not differ between treatment groups in either mutation-positive or mutation-negative patients. Statistical heterogeneity was not reported for any outcome. The authors concluded that EGFR mutation testing is indicated to guide treatment selection in NSCLC patients.

Erlotinib

Thirteen publications provide data on EGFR mutations in tumor samples obtained from NSCLC patients in erlotinib treatment studies. Nine of these(13-21) were nonconcurrent-prospective studies of treatment-naïve and previously-treated patients who received erlotinib and were then tested for the presence or absence of mutations; 4 (see Table 1) were prospective 1-arm enrichment studies of mutation-positive or wild-type patients treated with erlotinib. In 3 studies of EGFR mutation-positive patients,(22-24) objective radiologic response was 40% to 70%, median PFS was 8 to 14 months, and median OS was 16 to 29 months. In patients with wild-type tumors (25), objective radiologic response was 3.3%, PFS was 2.1 months, and overall survival (OS) was 9.2 months.

Table 1. Clinical Response in Prospective Studies of Erlotinib Therapy in Patients With EGFR Gene Mutation-Positive Advanced NSCLCa

Study (Year)

No. Mutated/

No. Tested (%)

Objective Radiologic Response (%)

Median PFS (95% CI), mo

Median OS (95% CI), mo

EGFRmutation positive

       

Jackman et al (2009)

Prospective 1-arm treatment EGFR-positive patients with erlotinib, chemotherapy naïve(22)

84 enrolled

70

13

28.7

Rosell et al (2009)

Prospective 1-arm treatment EGFR-positive patients with erlotinib in treatment failure and chemotherapy naïve(23)

350/2105

(16.6)

70

14

(11.3 to 16.7)

27

(24.9 to 33.1)

Sun et al (2010)

Prospective 1-arm treatment EGFR-positive patients with erlotinib in treatment failures(24)

144/164

(32)

40

8

15.8

EGFRmutation negative (wild type)

       

Yoshioka et al (2010)

Prospective 1-arm treatment EGFR wild-type patients with erlotinib in treatment failures(25)

30 enrolled

3.3

2.1

9.2

 

 

CI: confidence interval; OS: overall survival; PFS: progression-free survival.

a All patients had stage IIIA/IV NSCLC.

In 2011, Zhou et al reported the results of a Phase 3 prospective clinical trial of first-line treatment of Chinese patients with EGFR mutation (exon 19 deletion or L858R)-positive NSCLC (87% adenocarcinoma) randomized to treatment with erlotinib (n=83) or standard chemotherapy (gemcitabine plus carboplatin, n=82). (26) PFS was significantly longer in patients who received erlotinib (13.1 vs 4.5 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.16; p<0.001). Patients treated with erlotinib experienced fewer grade 3 and 4 toxic effects and more clinically relevant improvements in quality of life(27) than those who received chemotherapy. These results were duplicated in a European population in the 2012 EURTAC trial (NCT00446225), a multicenter, open-label, randomized Phase 3 trial.(28) Adult patients with EGFR mutations (exon 19 deletion or L858R mutation in exon 21) with NSCLC were randomized. Eighty-six received erlotinib, and 87 received standard chemotherapy. A planned interim analysis showed that the primary end point had been met. At the time the study was halted (Jan 26, 2011), median PFS was 9.7 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.4 to 12.3) vs 5.2 months (95% CI, 4.5 to 5.8) in the erlotinib and standard chemotherapy groups, respectively (HR=0.37; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.54; p<0.001). Six percent of patients receiving erlotinib had treatment-related severe adverse events compared with 20% of those receiving a standard chemotherapy regimen.

In 2011, Petrelli et al(29) reported a meta-analysis of 13 randomized trials of 1260 patients with EGFR mutated NSCLC who received TKIs for first-line, second-line, or maintenance therapy, and compared outcomes with standard therapy. Overall, they noted that in patients, use of EGFR TKIs increased the chance of obtaining an objective response almost 2-fold when compared with chemotherapy. Response rates were 70% vs 33% in first-line trials and 47% vs 28.5% in second-line trials. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors reduced the hazard of progression by 70% in all trials and by 65% in first-line trials; however, they did not improve overall survival.

In a 2010 pooled analysis of patients with EGFR mutations (most commonly exon 19 deletions and L858R substitution mutations in exon 21), median PFS was 13.2 months in patients treated with erlotinib and 5.9 months in patients treated with standard chemotherapy (p<0.001).(30) Patients with EGFR mutations appear to be ideal candidates for treatment with erlotinib. Identification of patients likely to respond or fail to respond to erlotinib leads to tailored choices of treatment likely to result in predictable and desirable outcomes.

Nine other studies totaling 630 patients have compared outcomes in EGFR mutation-positive and EGFR wild-type patients who were treated with erlotinib (see Table 2).

  • Objective radiologic response rates ranged from 0% to 83% (median, 45%) in patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumors and from 0% to 18% (median, 5.5%) in patients with wild-type tumors. All 5 studies that statistically evaluated results demonstrated statistically significant increases in objective radiologic response among patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumors.
  • Progression free survival ranged from 6.8 to 13.1 months (median, 12.5) in patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumors and from 1.4 to 5 months (median, 2.5) in patients with wild-type tumors. In all studies in which these data were reported, patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumors showed a trend or a statistically significant increase in PFS.
  • Overall survival ranged from 10 to 35 months (median, 21) in patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumors and from 3 to 12 months (median, 8.1) in patients with wild-type tumors. In all cases in which these data were reported, EGFR mutation-positive tumors showed a trend or a statistically significant increase in overall survival.

Table 2. Outcomes in Patients According to EGFR Mutation Status in Response to Treatment With Erlotinib (9 studies of 630 patients)

Patients

Overall Radiologic Response (Range), %

Median PFS (Range), mo

Median OS (Range), mo

EGFR mutation-positive patients

45 (0-83)

12.5 (6.8-13.1)

21 (10-35)

Wild-type patients

5.5 (0-18)

2.5 (1.4-5)

8.1 (3-12)

Untested patients (intent to treat) – FDA label

Not reported

2.8

12

OS: overall survival; PFS: progression-free survival.

In a 2013 randomized controlled trial (RCT), Garassino et al in Italy compared the efficacy of erlotinib and docetaxel as second-line therapy in 219 EGFR wild-type patients with metastatic NSCLC who had received previous platinum-based therapy.(31) Most patients (69%) had adenocarcinoma; 25% had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). With a median follow-up of 33 months, median PFS was 2.9 months with docetaxel and 2.4 months with erlotinib (adjusted HR=0.71 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.95; p=0.02). Median overall survival was 8.2 months with docetaxel and 5.4 months with erlotinib (adjusted HR=0.73; 95% CI, 0.53 to 1.00; p=0.05). Grade 3 or higher skin adverse events occurred in 14% of the erlotinib group and did not occur in the docetaxel group. Grade 3 or higher neutropenia occurred only in the docetaxel group (20%). As stated in an accompanying editorial, “[T]he efficacy of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors is very limited for second-line treatment of wild-type EGFR NSCLC.”(32) A 2013 meta-analysis of 3 trials in patients with wild-type EGFR reported improved overall survival with erlotinib treatment in second and third line and maintenance settings.(33) However, 75% of patients in the control arms in this analysis received placebo.

EGFR mutations may provide prognostic information (about disease recurrence and survival), as well as predictive information (about treatment response). In a 2005 study by Eberhard et al,(18) improved outcomes were observed for EGFR mutation-positive patients compared with wild-type patients regardless of treatment (standard chemotherapy or standard chemotherapy plus erlotinib). Objective radiologic response was 38% versus 23% (p=0.01), median time to progression was 8 months versus 5 months (p<0.001), and median OS was not reached versus 10 months (p<0.001).

Afatinib

Unlike erlotinib (and gefitinib) that selectively inhibit EGFR, afatinib inhibits not only EGFR but also human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and HER4 and may have activity in patients with acquired resistance to TKIs (who often harbor a T790M mutation [substitution of threonine by methionine at codon 790] in EGFR exon 20). The efficacy and safety of afatinib was evaluated in the LUX-Lung series of studies.

LUX-Lung 3 was an RCT in 345 patients with stage IIIB or IV, EGFR mutation-positive, lung adenocarcinoma who were previously untreated for advanced disease.(34) Seventy-two percent of patients were Asian, 26% were white, and 90% (308 patients) had common EGFR mutations (exon 19 deletion or L858R substitution mutation in exon 21). Patients received either afatinib or chemotherapy (cisplatin plus pemetrexed). In stratified analysis of patients with common EGFR mutations, median PFS was 13.6 months for the afatinib group and 6.9 months for the chemotherapy group (HR=0.47; 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.65; p=0.001). Median PFS for the 10% of patients who had other EGFR mutations was not reported, but median PFS for the entire patient sample was 11.1 months in the afatinib group and 6.9 months in the chemotherapy group (HR=0.58; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.78; p=0.001). Incidence of objective response in the entire patient sample was 56% in the afatinib group and 23% in the chemotherapy group (p=0.001). With a median follow-up of 16.4 months, median OS was not reached in any group; preliminary analysis indicated no difference in OS between the 2 treatment groups in the entire patient sample (HR=1.12; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.73; p=0.60). Patients in the afatinib group reported greater improvements in dyspnea, cough, and global health status/quality of life than those in the chemotherapy group.(35) Grade 3 or higher diarrhea, rash, and paronychia (nail infection) occurred in 14%, 16%, and 11% of afatinib-treated patients, respectively, and in no patients in the chemotherapy group. Grade 3 or higher mucositis (primarily stomatitis) occurred in 9% of the afatinib group and 0.9% of the chemotherapy group. (34)

Three other published LUX-Lung studies evaluated patients with stage IIIB or IV lung adenocarcinoma who were previously treated for advanced disease, but each had design flaws that limit the interpretation of results.

  • LUX-Lung 2 was a single-arm study of afatinib in 129 patients (87% Asian, 12% white) with EGFR mutation-positive disease.(36) Patients had been treated with previous chemotherapy but not with EGFR-targeted therapy; approximately half of patients (enrolled after a protocol amendment) were chemotherapy-naïve. Objective responses (primarily partial responses) were observed in 66% of 106 patients with common EGFR mutations (exon 19 deletion or L858R) and in 39% of 23 patients with other EGFR mutations. Median PFS was 13.7 months in patients with common EGFR mutations and 3.7 months in patients with other EGFR mutations (p values not reported). Results for mutation-negative patients were not reported.
  • LUX-Lung 1 and LUX-Lung 4 enrolled patients who had progressed on previous erlotinib, gefitinib, or both for advanced disease. Neither study prospectively genotyped patients. In the LUX-Lung 1 double-blind RCT,(37) 96 of 585 enrolled patients (66% Asian, 33% white) were EGFR mutation-positive (76 common EGFR mutation-positive). In this group, median PFS was 3.3 months in the afatinib group and 1.0 month in the placebo group (HR=0.51; 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.85; p=0.009). In 45 mutation-negative patients, median PFS was 2.8 months in the afatinib group and 1.8 months in the placebo group, a statistically nonsignificant difference (p=0.22), possibly due to small group sizes. LUX-Lung 4 was a single-arm study of afatinib in 62 Japanese patients.(38) Objective responses occurred in 2 of 36 patients with common EGFR mutations (5%) and in none of 8 patients with other EGFR mutations (p>0.05).

EGFR Mutation Frequency

In 2009, Rosell et al(20) reported EGFR mutations in 16.6% of the overall patient sample but noted an increased prevalence in women (69.7%), patients who never smoked (66.6%), and patients with adenocarcinomas (80.9%). Based on these findings, Rosell et al recommended EGFR mutation screening in women with lung cancer with nonsquamous cell tumors who have never smoked. Other reports on the mutation frequencies have found higher prevalences among East Asians when compared with other ethnicities (38% vs 15%, respectively).(21) Although there is a greater proportion of EGFR mutations in these special populations (women, never smokers, patients with adenocarcinoma, and/or Asians), many patients without these selected demographics still exhibit EGFR mutations and would benefit from erlotinib treatment.

In a comprehensive analysis of 14 studies involving 2880 patients, Mitsudomi et al (39) reported EGFR mutations in 10% of men, 7% of non-Asian patients, 7% of current or former smokers, and 2% of patients with nonadenocarcinoma histologies. Although histology appeared to be the strongest discriminator, results varied across studies; for example, Eberhard et al(18) observed EGFR mutations in 6.4% of patients with squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and Rosell et al(23) in 11.5% of patients with large cell carcinomas. (Both of these studies had small sample sizes.)

For patients with SCC, current guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)(40) indicate that the low incidence of EGFR mutations in SCC “does not justify routine testing of all tumor specimens.” This conclusion is based on the Sanger Institute’s Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) (41) that reported an observed EGFR mutation incidence of 2.7% in patients with SCC with an upper confidence limit for the true incidence of 3.6%. NCCN guidelines recommend consideration of mutation testing in never smokers with SCC or when biopsy specimens are small and histology is mixed. (40) This recommendation was based on a case series of 13 patients with squamous or pseudosquamous histology.(42) However, 7 patients (54%) were subsequently determined to have adenocarcinoma histology. All 6 remaining patients were never smokers, and all 6 had an exon 19 deletion or L858R substitution mutation in EGFR.

In 2013, the College of American Pathologists, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and Association for Molecular Pathology published joint evidence-based guidelines for molecular testing to select EGFR TKI therapy in patients with lung cancer.(43) An EGFR mutation incidence of 0% to 5% in patients with SCC was reported. Recommendations for EGFR mutation testing in patients with SCC depend on tumor sample availability:

  • For fully excised lung cancer specimens, EGFR testing is not recommended when an adenocarcinoma component is lacking, eg, tumors with pure squamous cell histology with no immunohistochemistry evidence of adenocarcinoma differentiation (eg, thyroid transcription factor 1 [TTF-1] or mucin positive). (Evidence grade A, excellent quality evidence)
  • When lung cancer specimens are limited (eg, biopsy, cytology) and an adenocarcinoma component cannot be completely excluded, EGFR testing may be performed in cases showing squamous cell histology; clinical criteria (eg, lack of smoking history) may be useful to select a subset of these samples for testing. (Evidence grade A, excellent quality evidence)

Two studies may support the potential value of EGFR mutation testing in patients with SCC, particularly in Asian populations. However, similar studies have not been reported in non-Asian populations or in populations treated with erlotinib. A 2009 study by Park et al(44) of preselected Korean patients treated with gefitinib reported EGFR mutations in 3 of 20 male smokers with SCC (15%), a patient subgroup expected to have a low prevalence of EGFR mutations based on demographics. Clinical response was observed in 2 of 3 mutation-positive patients and 1 of 17 wild-type patients; median PFS was 5.8 months in patients with mutated EGFR and 2.4 months in the wild-type group (p=0.07). In vivo analyses by Dobashi et al(45) showed that in Japanese patients with both adenocarcinomas and SCCs, EGFR mutations were associated with downstream phosphorylation of EGFR and constitutive activation of the EGFR pathway.

In contrast, Fang et al (2013) reported EGFR mutations (all L858R) in 2% (3 patients) of 146 consecutively treated Chinese patients with early stage SCC.(46) In a separate cohort of 63 Chinese patients with SCC who received erlotinib or gefitinib as second- or third-line treatment (63% never smokers, 21% women), EGFR mutation prevalence (all exon 19 deletion or L858R) was 23.8%. Objective response occurred in 26.7% of 15 EGFR mutation-positive and 2.1% of 48 mutation-negative patients (p=0.002). Median PFS was 3.9 months and 1.9 months, respectively (p=0.19). Based on these findings, the authors concluded that routine EGFR mutation testing of all SCC specimens is not justified.

EGFR Mutation Testing

Gene sequencing is generally considered an analytic gold standard. In 2010, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health published a rapid response report on EGFR mutation analysis.(47) Based on 11 observational studies, the report authors concluded that PCR-based approaches identify EGFR mutations with a sensitivity equivalent to that of direct sequencing.

Summary

Several randomized controlled trials, nonconcurrent prospective studies, and single-arm enrichment studies demonstrate that detection of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations identifies patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are likely to benefit from erlotinib or afatinib therapy and who are therefore ideal candidates for treatment with these drugs. These observations have been made in populations of patients with primarily adenocarcinomas. Currently, there is no little evidence to indicate that EGFR mutation testing can guide treatment selection in patients with squamous cell histology.

Patients who are found to have wild-type tumors are unlikely to respond to erlotinib or afatinib. These patients should be considered candidates for alternative therapies.

EGFR mutational analysis may be considered medically necessary to predict treatment response to erlotinib or afatinib in patients with advanced NSCLC; however, EGFR mutational analysis is investigational in patients with NSCLC of squamous cell type.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines

NCCN’s current clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of NSCLC (version 2.2014, discussion update in progress) (40) recommend EGFR mutational analysis in patients with advanced NSCLC, nonsquamous cell type. “Erlotinib is recommended as first-line therapy in patients with sensitizing EGFR mutations and should not be given as first-line therapy to patients negative for these EGFR mutations or with unknown EGFR status.” Afatinib is recommended as first- or second-line therapy “for select patients with sensitizing EGFR mutations.” In patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), EGFR mutation testing should be considered “especially in” never smokers; when histology is assessed using small biopsy specimens (rather than surgically resected samples); or when histology is mixed adenosquamous.

American Society of Clinical Oncology Provisional Clinical Opinion

In 2011, the American Society of Clinical Oncology issued a provisional clinical opinion on EGFR mutation testing for patients with advanced NSCLC who are considering first-line EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy.(48) The authors concluded that such patients who have not previously received chemotherapy or an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) should undergo EGFR mutation testing to determine whether chemotherapy or an EGFR TKI is appropriate first-line treatment.

College of American Pathologists Joint Guideline

In 2013, the College of American Pathologists, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and the Association for Molecular Pathology published evidence-based guidelines for molecular testing to select patients with lung cancer for treatment with EGFR TKI therapy.(43) Based on excellent quality evidence (category A), the guidelines recommend EGFR mutation testing in patients with lung adenocarcinoma regardless of clinical characteristics, such as smoking history. Guidelines for EGFR mutation testing in patients with SCC are reviewed in the Rationale section of the policy (see EGFR Mutation Frequency).

American College of Chest Physicians Guidelines

American College of Chest Physicians updated its evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on the treatment of stage IV NSCLC in 2013.(49) Based on their review of the literature, guideline authors reported improved response rates, PFS, and toxicity profiles with first-line erlotinib or gefitinib compared with first-line platinum-based therapy in patients with EGFR mutations, especially exon 19 deletion and L858R. ACCP recommends “testing patients with NSCLC for EGFR mutations at the time of diagnosis whenever feasible, and treating with first-line EGFR TKIs if mutation-positive.”

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Codes

Number

Description

CPT 81235 EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) (eg, non-small cell lung cancer) gene analysis, common variants (eg, exon 19 LREA deletion, L858R, T790M, G719A, G719S, L861Q)

ICD-9 Diagnosis 

 

ICD-9-CM does not have specific coding for non-small cell lung cancer. The following malignant neoplasm of lung codes would be used.

  162.3 -162.9 Malignant neoplasm of lung code range
ICD-10-CM (effective 10/1/15)   ICD-10-CM does not have specific coding for non-small cell lung cancer. The following malignant neoplasm of lung codes would be used.
  C34.0 -C34.92 Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
ICD-10-PCS (effective 10/1/15)    Not applicable. ICD-10-PCS codes are only used for inpatient services. There are no ICD procedure codes for laboratory tests.

Type of Service 

Medicine 

Place of Service 

Reference laboratory 


Index

EGFR Mutation Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation Analysis


Policy History

Date Action Reason
4/25/06 Add policy New policy
7/20/06 Replace policy – correction only Corrected original policy date and issue number in header
12/11/08 Update policy Literature search performed, reference (34) added, NCCN guidelines position updated. No change to policy statement
1/13/11 Replace policy Revised extensively, based on 2010 TEC Assessment, policy statement changed from investigational to medically necessary for two types of mutations in NSCLC that is not of squamous cell type
1/12/12 Replace policy Policy updated with literature search. References 30-32 added; reference 25 updated. No change in policy statements.
11/8/12 Replace policy - coding update only CPT coding added
1/10/13 Update policy Policy updated with literature search. Reference 23 added; reference 32 updated. No change in policy statements.
2/13/14 Replace policy Policy updated with literature search through December 12, 2013. References 6, 7, 12, 27, 21-38, 42, 43, 46, and 49 added; references 40 and 47 updated; reference 11 corrected; reference 28 deleted. Rationale reorganized and references renumbered. Medically necessary policy statement changed to include afatinib. Investigational statements unchanged.