Author(s): Alfthan H, Haglund C, Roberts P, Stenman UH
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Abstract Human choriogonadotropin (hCG), its free beta subunit (beta hCG), and the core beta hCG fragment (c beta hCG) were measured by highly sensitive time-resolved immunofluorometric assays in the serum and urine of 29 patients with pancreatic cancer, 7 patients with biliary cancer, and 45 patients with benign pancreatic or biliary diseases. The results were compared with those of an age- and sex-matched reference population of nonpregnant women and men. Of the various forms of hCG assayed in serum, beta hCG showed the best diagnostic accuracy, and c beta hCG was the best marker in urine. Elevated serum concentrations of beta hCG were observed in 72\% of the patients with pancreatic cancer, in 6 of 7 patients with biliary cancer, and in 9\% of those with benign disorders. The serum concentrations of c beta hCG were elevated in 45\%, 57\%, and 2\%, respectively, and those in urine in 55\%, 71\%, and 11\%, respectively. The molar concentrations of c beta hCG in serum were mostly lower than those of beta hCG. Thus beta hCG secreted into serum appears to be the main source of c beta hCG in urine. Provided that they are measured by sufficiently sensitive and specific assays, beta hCG in serum and c beta hCG in urine appear to be useful markers for pancreatic and biliary cancer.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology