Veracyte Presents Data Demonstrating Afirma's Success in Reducing Unnecessary Surgery

October 8, 2018
  • At one site, the surgery rate was reduced by more than 50%
  • Veracyte claims to have removed an estimated $800 million in surgery costs from the healthcare system


Veracyte, Inc. (Nasdaq: VCYT) announced on 10/8/18 that new findings from six studies reinforcing the “real world” performance of the next-generation Afirma Genomic Sequencing Classifier (GSC) and the Afirma Xpression Atlas in thyroid cancer diagnosis were presented at the 88th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ATA). The meeting is being held October 3-7 in Washington, D.C.

Researchers from leading institutions presented posters showing that use of the Afirma GSC at their respective centers significantly increased the identification of benign thyroid nodules among those deemed indeterminate – not clearly benign or malignant – following cytopathology review, compared to the original Afirma test.

The Ohio State University – Researchers compared results of 113 indeterminate samples that were tested with the Afirma GSC to those of 403 samples using the earlier version of the test (the Afirma Gene Expression Classifier, or GEC). The Afirma GSC identified 74.1 percent of the nodules as benign, compared to 48.4 percent with the GEC, an increase of 53 percent. The overall surgery rate among all patients who underwent genomic testing decreased by more than half – from 42.2 percent with the GEC to 20.2 percent with the GSC.

Cleveland Clinic – Comparing results of 46 samples tested with the Afirma GSC between July 2017 and December 2017 with 182 samples tested with the original test between December 2011 and July 2017, researchers found that the GSC identified 67.4 percent as benign, compared to 41.8 percent with the GEC – an increase of 61 percent. The overall surgery rate for nodules tested with the GSC was 32.6 percent, compared to 47.3 percent with the original test, a decrease of 31 percent.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Researchers evaluated results for 583 thyroid nodules tested with either the Afirma GSC (n=97) or GEC (n=486) between 2011 and 2018. They found that the Afirma GSC identified 64.9 percent of nodules as benign, compared to 47.9 percent with the GEC, an increase of 35 percent.

“Our results show that with the improved testing, we sent significantly fewer patients to surgery,” said Dr. Christian Nasr, medical director of the Thyroid Center in the Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. “Additionally, when patients went to surgery following ‘suspicious’ results, we were more likely to find cancer. Our findings suggest that the next-generation test can help more patients avoid unnecessary thyroid surgery, while focusing healthcare resources on the patients who are more likely to need them.”

Veracyte’s Afirma solution provides a comprehensive offering in thyroid cancer diagnosis for physicians evaluating patients with thyroid nodules. The Afirma Genomic Sequencing Classifier combines RNA sequencing data with machine learning to identify patients with benign thyroid nodules among those with indeterminate cytopathology results in order to avoid unnecessary surgery and preserve the thyroid. The company claims that since the commercial introduction of Afirma in 2011, Veracyte has performed over 100,000 genomic tests, and estimates it has saved more than 40,000 patients from unnecessary thyroid surgery and removed an estimated $800 million in surgery costs from the healthcare system.

In addition to Afirma, the company has Percepta for lung cancer diagnosis and Envisia for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis.


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