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Healthcare Insights

Most common chemotherapy procedure codes

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. In 2024, it is estimated that there will be approximately two million new cancer cases and more than 611,000 deaths from cancer.

The most common types of cancer in the US include breast, lung, prostate, colon, and skin cancer.

While more personalized oncology treatments are coming to market, chemotherapy continues to be one of the most common courses of treatment, alongside surgery and radiation therapy.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs for cancer treatment. Chemotherapy procedures involve using different anti-cancer medications to destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing, dividing, and replicating. Chemotherapy is also frequently used in conjunction with other cancer medications and treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy.

Where do you go to receive chemotherapy?

Unlike the drugs used to treat chronic conditions, you cannot get chemotherapy drugs at your regular neighborhood pharmacy. Chemotherapy drugs are powerful medications requiring precise doses to ensure safety and efficacy.

Patients who require chemotherapy typically receive treatment in a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic as most treatments are given intravenously on a set cycle. Healthcare providers, typically oncologists, also need to calculate chemotherapy doses as some treatments are based on body weight or body surface area, which varies from person to person.

Curious about the most common chemotherapy treatments? HCPCS J-codes can provide insight on the most common types of chemotherapy treatments.

What are HCPCS J-codes?

J-codes are part of the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Level II code set. J-codes typically cover injectables and chemotherapy drugs and are used to identify drugs that cannot be self-administered.

Using 2023 calendar year data from the Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset, below we look at HCPCS J-codes by volume to see which chemotherapy drugs are the most common.

Top 10 most common chemotherapy procedures by HCPCS code

RankHCPCS/CPT codeHCPCS/CPT description% of 2023 procedures analyzedExplore dataset
1J9035Bevacizumab injection13.10%Explore
2J9190Fluorouracil injection6.70%Explore
3J9271Injection pembrolizumab5.40%Explore
5J9267Paclitaxel injection4.50%Explore
6J9217Leuprolide acetate suspnsion4.50%Explore
7J9041Injection, bortezomib4.40%Explore
8J9045Carboplatin injection4.20%Explore
9J9201Injection, gemcitabine hydrochloride3.40%Explore
10J9025Azacitidine injection3.10%Explore
11J9206Irinotecan injection2.80%Explore
12J9299Injection, nivolumab2.60%Explore
13J9144Daratumumab, hyaluronidase2.40%Explore
14J9070Cyclophosphamide 2.20%Explore
15J9264Paclitaxel protein bound1.90%Explore
16J9030Bcg live intravesical1.80%Explore
17J9060Injection, cisplatin1.80%Explore
18J9047Injection, carfilzomib1.70%Explore
19J9171Docetaxel injection1.70%Explore
20J9181Etoposide injection1.70%Explore

Fig. 1. Data from Definitive Healthcare Atlas All-Payor Claims dataset for calendar year 2023. Medical claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and is updated monthly. Accessed March 2024.

What are the most common chemotherapy treatments?

Bevacizumab injections are the most frequently performed chemotherapy procedure, representing 13.1% of the claims analyzed. The chemotherapy drug can treat a wide range of cancers but is most widely used for colon, lung, kidney, cervical, and ovarian cancer. Bevacizumab is an anti-angiogenic therapy designed to prevent tumor growth and is typically used in conjunction with other chemotherapy drugs.

The second most common chemotherapy procedure code is for fluorouracil injections, which are used to treat a variety of cancers, including breast, colon or rectal, pancreatic, and stomach cancer.

Injections of paclitaxel round out the top three most common chemotherapy procedures. Paclitaxel is used most frequently to treat advanced ovarian, breast, and lung cancer. Both fluorouracil and paclitaxel belong to a group of medicines called antineoplastics, which are designed to interfere with the growth of cancer cells.

Learn more

Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.