thyroid cancer

While thyroid cancer is very treatable with surgery and other therapies, it remains the fastest growing cancer in the United States / Darryl Leja, NHGRI

Health insurance company Anthem Inc. has issued a positive coverage policy for Veracyte’s Afirma Gene Expression Classifier (GEC) to make the test available to their 40 million members. The test can be used in thyroid cancer diagnosis to help prevent unnecessary surgeries.

Veracyte, a genomic diagnostics company founded in San Franciso nine years ago, has commercialised three genomic tests, aimed at thyroid cancer (Afirma), lung cancer (Percepta), and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (Envisia).

Afirma is designed to identify which thyroid nodes that are inconclusive by cytopathy are benign and thus not requiring surgery. Roughly 70-80% of indeterminate thyroid nodes are found to be benign but this is only discovered after expensive and potentially damaging surgery. Afirma allows clinicians to identify the nodes before surgery and enables patient monitoring with CT imaging instead.

The test has already been covered by a number of private insurance companies (including UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Humana, and Cigna) and the state-funded Medicare program. Veracyte now claim that Afirma is covered for more than 260 million people.

“Every major health plan in the United States now covers Afirma,” said Bonnie Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Veracyte. “This is a significant corporate milestone for us as Afirma is one of the only tests in the genomic diagnostics sector to achieve such broad coverage.”

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