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DESCRIPTIONTransplantation of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cells derived from bone marrow or peripheral blood, in conjunction with myeloablative chemotherapy is an established therapy for various malignancies, including acute and chronic leukemias, Hodgkin's disease, and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. The treatment effect results from chemotherapeutic ablation of the malignant cells, as well as associated immune-mediated graft versus malignancy effect. The conventional practice of allogeneic stem-cell transplants (allo-SCT) involves administration of myelotoxic agents (e.g., cyclophosphamide, busulfan) with or without total body irradiation at high enough doses to cause bone marrow failure in most patients. While such treatment may eradicate the malignant cells, patients are as likely to die from opportunistic infections, graft-versus-host disease, and organ failure as from the underlying malignancy.
Recently, regimens have been developed that seek to reduce treatment-related adverse effects while retaining beneficial (i.e., graft versus malignancy) effects. So-called nonmyeloablative regimens have been tentatively defined as those that do not eradicate the patient's hematopoietic ability, allowing for relatively prompt hematopoietic recovery (e.g., 28 days or less) without a transplant. Examples of such regimens include fludarabine-cyclophosphamide and fludarabine-idarubicin-cytarabine combinations. On engraftment, patients treated with nonmyeloablative regimens will demonstrate mixed chimerism initially. Most will subsequently convert to full-donor chimerism and may be supplemented with donor lymphocyte infusions to further eradicate malignant cells. Nonmyeloablative chemotherapy is now commonly referred to as reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC), with patients also receiving allogeneic stem-cell support. This procedure also has been called "mini-transplant."
Two general categories of patients that have been considered candidates for nonmyeloablative transplants: those who would otherwise be considered candidates for a conventional myeloablative allotransplant, and those who would not. In the former category, nonmyeloablative allotransplants could be considered as a variant of a standard chemotherapy conditioning regimen. In the latter category, nonmyeloablative transplants would be considered a novel approach, either for patients whose comorbidities preclude a standard myeloablative conditioning regimen, or in those with malignancies that have not been shown to be effectively treated with conventional myeloablative allogeneic transplants.
Note: Donor leukocyte infusions may be administered as part of the above therapy. However, donor leukocyte infusions used as a salvage regimen at relapse following a conventional myeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplant are considered separately. See policy Donor Leukocyte Infusion for Hematologic Malignancies that Relapse After Allogeneic Stem-Cell Transplant
POLICYNo benefits will be provided for a covered transplant procedure or a transplant evaluation unless the Member receives prior authorization through Case Management from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi.
Nonmyeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation may be considered medically necessary in patients who would otherwise meet patient selection criteria for high-dose chemotherapy and allogeneic stem cell transplantation. These criteria are addressed in the following policies:
Other applications of nonmyeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplantation are considered investigational, including its use in patients who do not meet criteria for high-dose chemotherapy and allogeneic stem cell transplantation due to either age or co-morbidities, or as a treatment of other malignancies, including but not limited to, multiple myeloma, renal cell carcinoma, other solid tumors, or automimmune disease.
POLICY EXCEPTIONSFor Federal Employee Program (FEP) Subscribers, the Service Benefit Plan includes specific conditions in which autologous or allogeneic blood or marrow stem cell transplants would be considered eligible for coverage.
For State and School Employee Subscribers, all bone marrow / stem cell transplants must be certified as medically necessary by the Plan's Utilization Review Vendor, CareAllies. No benefits will be provided for any transplant procedure unless prior approval for the transplant is obtained from CareAllies.
Nonmyeloablative stem-cell transplant is composed of a collection of donor stem cells, infusion of stem cells into the recipient, collection of donor leukocytes, and infusion of donor leukocytes. The recipient will also undergo preceding nonmyeloablative chemotherapy. The regimens have varied from center to center. (added 3-25-2004)
Investigative service is defined as the use of any treatment procedure, facility, equipment, drug, device, or supply not yet recognized by certifying boards and/or approving or licensing agencies or published peer review criteria as standard, effective medical practice for the treatment of the condition being treated and as such therefore is not considered medically necessary.
The coverage guidelines outlined in the Medical Policy Manual should not be used in lieu of the Member's specific benefit plan language.
POLICY HISTORY11/2001: Approved by Medical Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC)
2/15/2002: Investigational definition added
3/6/2002: Prior authorization through case management added
5/2/2002: Type of Service and Place of Service deleted
5/29/2002: Code Reference section completed, CPT code 38231, 38240, 86915 added, ICD-9 procedure code 41.05, 41.08 added, ICD-9 diagnosis code V42.82 added, HCPCS S2142, S2150 added
3/18/2003: Code Reference section updated
3/25/2004: Policy aligned with BCBSA policy # 8.01.38, Policy title "Nonmyeloablative Allogeneic Stem-Cell Transplantation for Treatment of Malignancy" renamed "Nonmyeloablative Allogeneic Transplant of Hematopoietic Stem Cells for Treatment of Malignancy"
8/24/2004: Code Reference section updated, ICD-9 diagnosis code V42.82 deleted
11/18/2004: Reviewed by MPAC, no changes
7/14/2005: Code Reference section updated, CPT code 38231, 86915 deleted covered codes, CPT code 38230, 86812, 86813, 86816, 86817, 86821, 86822 added covered codes, HCPCS J9000-J9999 statement “See J-code section in the HCPCS Manual for additional chemotherapy drug codes” changed to “To report antineoplastic drugs, see code range J9000-J9999 in the HCPCS Level II manual” and all separately listed codes deleted, HCPCS G0355, G0356, G0357, G0358, G0359, G0360, G0361, G0362, G0363, G0364, S2140 added covered codes, HCPCS S2150 description revised and Note “Only allogeneic stem-cell support is covered. See Policy section.” added
3/9/2006: Coding updated. CPT-4/HCPCS 2006 revisions added to policy
5/21/2007: Policy reviewed, no changes
12/19/2007: Coding updated per the 2008 CPT/HCPCS revisions
5/28/2010: Description section revised to include "mini-transplant." New CPT codes 86825 and 86826 added to covered table. FEP and State and School Employee verbiage was added to the Policy Exceptions section. Code Reference section was revised to add CPT codes 86825 & 86826 to the covered table. HCPCS codes G0265, G0266 and G0267 were removed from covered table due to codes were deleted as of 12-31-2007.
SOURCE(S)Blue Cross Blue Shield Association policy # 8.01.38
CODE REFERENCEThis may not be a comprehensive list of procedure codes applicable to this policy.
The code(s) listed below are ONLY medically necessary if the procedure is performed according to the "Policy" section of this document.