Don't have a TCI SuperCoder account yet? Become a Member >>

Regular Price: $24.95

Ask An Expert Starting at $24.95
Have a medical coding or compliance question? Don’t sacrifice your valuable time to endless research. Choose Ask an Expert to get clear answers from the TCI SuperCoder team. And here’s a tip for the budget-conscious: Select the 12-question pack to get the best rate per question!

Browse Past Questions By Specialty

+View all

Question on Pathologist-Assigned ICD-10 Coding for ER+/ER- Breast Neoplasia

Milon Posted Fri 17th of July, 2015 20:51:27 PM

Dear Experts,

I've noticed that there are ICD-10 codes for estrogen receptor status, namely:

V86.0 Estrogen receptor positive status [ER+]
V86.1 Estrogen receptor negative status [ER-]

When the pathologist completes a malignant breast cancer case, and has performed scoring for ER and PR, should the pathology billing representatives add one of the above codes after the code for the malignant breast neoplasm? Or, should these codes never be assigned in a surgical pathology setting (i.e. they should never be assigned by a pathologist -- they should only be assigned by the clinician that is treating the patient)? For clarification, I have listed an example below.

For example:
- Diagnosis by pathologist is invasive ductal carcinoma (upper-outer quadrant)
- The carcinoma is ER-positive (immunostain scoring by pathologist)
- Pathologist-assigned ICD Codes are: #1) 174.4 and #2) V86.0.
- Is the assignment of V86.0 *not* permissible?

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Milon A.

SuperCoder Answered Mon 20th of July, 2015 00:54:46 AM

The codes you have mentioned are ICD-9 codes. Pathologist can use these ICD-9 codes with its report.

Please read below article:

I am also copying the mentioned article here:

Now You Can Code Estrogen Receptor Status
- Published on Thu, Oct 12, 2006

V code tells breast cancer type

Physicians can't justify the common breast-cancer drug Tamoxifen if they don't document lab results for estrogen receptor (ER) status. Now ICD-9 gives you two new V codes to do just that.

Medical necessity for some additional cancer testing also depends on ER status. Use one of the following new ICD-9 codes, effective Oct. 1, to document tumor ER status:

- V86.0--Estrogen receptor positive status (ER+)

- V86.1--Estrogen receptor negative status (ER-).

Use the V codes as a secondary diagnosis. -You should code the malignancy first as the primary diagnosis,- says Melanie Witt, RN, CPC-OGS, MA, an independent coding consultant in Guadalupita, N.M. You might commonly report V86.0 or V86.1 with codes from category 174.x (Malignant neoplasm of female breast) or 175.x (Malignant neoplasm of male breast).

-In fact, the October ICD-9 revision includes a note under these category codes directing you to the new V codes,- Witt says. The new note under 174 and 175 says, -Use additional code to identify estrogen receptor status (V86.0, V86.1).-

Distinguish Lab Tests

Your lab might perform a qualitative ER assay (88342, Immunohistochemistry [including tissue immunoperoxidase], each antibody), which involves test results that indicate either -yes- the antigen is present, or -no- the antigen is not present.

Or the lab may perform a more quantitative test--morphometric analysis--that involves counting stained cells from sections of the slide and reporting the results as either a numerical percentage or a semiquantitative-scale rating.

Do this: Select the appropriate quantitative/semiquantitative ER assay code based on whether the slide count is manual or computer-assisted:

- 88360--Morphometric analysis, tumor immunohistochemistry (e.g., Her-2/neu, estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor), quantitative or semiquantitative, each antibody; manual

- 88361--... using computer-assisted technology.

Demonstrate Medical Necessity

Oncologists may use Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) for breast cancer treatment or prevention, says Kim Garner Huey, CPC, CCS-P, CHCC, a consultant with KGG Coding and Reimbursement Consulting in Auburn, Ala
If the physician documents that the medication is for treatment, report the appropriate code for malignant neoplasm of breast (such as 174.0, Malignant neoplasm of female breast; nipple and areola). If the physician instead says the patient's therapy is complete and the medication is for recurrence prevention, report V10.3 (Personal history of malignant neoplasm; breast).

In either case, you should report ER+ status using V86.0 to demonstrate medical necessity for Tamoxifen.

Note: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists asked the ICD-9 committee to add a code for estrogen receptor status for use with breast malignant neoplasm codes. You can find the new codes for the latest ICD-9 update on the Internet at

Don't Miss Lab NCD Connection

Medicare adds V86.0 and V86.1 to the list of covered diagnoses in the National Coverage Determination for alpha fetoprotein. CMS updated the NCD list in Change Request 5293, issued Sept. 7.

ER receptor status is important for the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma. Physicians use the AFP assay to monitor HCC patients.

Related Topics