Blood cancers

New genetic testing for MPN gets Medicare tick of approval


A recommendation to expand Medicare funded genetic testing for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) has been made by the Medicare Services Advisory Committee (MSAC).

The Committee decided at its November 2020 meeting to recommend additional genes be tested for after initial JAK2 V617F testing.

MBS item 73325 currently provides for Janus kinase (JAK2) and myeloproliferative leukaemia (MPL) gene testing in patients with polycythaemia vera (PV) or essential thrombocythaemia (ET).

The new MBS items numbers will include testing for calreticulin (CALR) mutations in patients with PV or ET, and testing for JAK2, MPL and CALR genes in patients with primary myelofibrosis (PMF).

MSAC said the recommendation followed the demonstrated clinical utility of testing. It was also in line with current clinical guidelines from the World Health Organisation.

“There are no adverse consequences anticipated from the use of any of the proposed tests. None of the proposed tests are considered experimental, however their use could potentially lead to a risk stratification that would direct treatment selection more appropriately, including the avoidance of harm from a treatment unlikely to offer a favourable benefit-risk ratio,” the Public Summary Document said.

“MSAC acknowledged that the knowledge base around genomic profiling is rapidly evolving and, over time, an upfront NGS panel that permits all relevant genes to be tested for may be appropriate.”

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