Study indicates a quarter of lung cancer patients did not receive Pharmacogenomic testing prior to start of treatment

      Study indicates a quarter of lung cancer patients did not receive
             Pharmacogenomic testing prior to start of treatment

Guidelines call for testing prior to use of erlotinib

PR Newswire

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 30, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly a quarter of patients
taking erlotinib (Tarceva®) for treatment of advanced non-small cell lung
cancer (NSCLC) did not receive the recommended pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing
prior to the start of treatment, according to a new study by pharmacy benefit
manager Prime Therapeutics (Prime), in collaboration with Jonas de Souza, MD,
Instructor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago
Medical Center. The study will be presented December 1, 2012, at the American
Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Care Symposium in San Diego.

Guidelines released by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) in
March 2011 and ASCO in April 2011 recommend PGx testing for tumor epidermal
growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation in NSCLC patients. The Tarceva
(erlotinib) prescribing information shows erlotinib to be effective in
treating NSCLC. Patients who had a negative EGFR mutation test did not receive
a significant benefit in progression free survival or overall survival.

In the study, researchers reviewed medical claims for nearly 3.4 million
members from four Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to identify patients
receiving erlotinib. Researchers then reviewed claims for any current
procedure terminology (CPT) code indicating PGx testing in the prior 24
months. From January 1, 2011, to June 30, 2011, 125 members received
erlotinib. More than 81 percent of erlotinib claims were for lung cancer, over
14 percent were for pancreatic cancer and 4 percent were for other cancers.
They found 60 patients (48 percent) were new erlotinib users and 47 had a lung
cancer diagnosis. Of those, 36 (76.5 percent) had a PGx CPT code claim,
ranging from four days to 22 months prior.

"Understanding mutations in the cancer can help us better understand the
effectiveness of treatments and develop care management programs that will
have the greatest impact on the patient," said Pat Gleason, PharmD, FCCP,
BCPS, director of health outcomes with Prime. "Simplifying medical coding for
pharmacogenomics testing and greater use of guidelines will help us continue
to improve care for lung cancer patients."

About Prime Therapeutics

At Prime Therapeutics, people are at the center of all we do and every
decision we make. As a leader in pharmacy benefit management, Prime is
dedicated to making it easier for our members to obtain more affordable
medicines. We leverage our unique connections to deliver programs that lead to
the best health outcomes.

Prime's integrated pharmacy benefit management services include claims
processing, benefit plan design, network management, clinical program
consultation, rebate management, formulary administration, mail-service
pharmacy and specialty pharmacy.

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., Prime Therapeutics serves nearly 20 million
people and is collectively owned by 13 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans,
subsidiaries or affiliates of those Plans. Prime has been recognized as one
of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation by Inc. 5000 and as a
most engaged workplace by Achievers.

For more information, visit or follow @Prime_PBM on

SOURCE Prime Therapeutics

Contact: Sheila Thelemann, Director, Corporate Communication, Prime
Therapeutics, +1-612-777-5508,
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.