Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is a glycoprotein usually produced by placental trophoblast cells in pregnancy. hCG is also produced by some cancers and therefore hCG measurement may be considered a tumour marker in patients with these conditions.
Tumour types that may secrete hCG
- Testicular cancers (seminomas and non-seminonatous tumours)
- Ovarian germ cell tumours
- Gestational trophoblastic tumours (e.g. choriocarcinoma and hydatidiform mole)
BHCG - tumour marker, Serum or Plasma
HCG - tumour marker, Serum or Plasma
Tumour Marker - BHCG, Serum or Plasma
Ambient (8 - 24 degrees Celsius)
If overnight - Chilled (2 - 8 degrees Celsius)
Samples may be stored off the red blood cells if testing is not done completed within 8 hours. Separated specimens are stable for up to 48 hours at 2-8 oC. Outside these timeframes, the separated sample must be stored frozen at -20oC or colder.
In general, hCG testing should not be used for the diagnosis of cancer. However the finding of an elevated hCG in a male patient may be relatively specific for a tumour given that hCG is usually absent in male patients.
hCG testing in patients with known hCG-secreting tumours is most useful when assessing response to treatment or monitoring for disease recurrence. hCG measurement in these patients should be guided by relevant cancer-specific guidelines.
hCG assays vary in their ability to detect different isoforms of hCG. Therefore hCG testing should be performed in the same laboratory on each occasion. hCG results from different analytical platforms should not be directly compared.
0 – 5 IU/L (non pregnant adult)
Paramagnetic particle, chemiluminescent immunoassay performed on Beckman Coulter DxI 800 analyser, using Beckman Coulter Access reagents
$28.46 (Exclusive of GST)
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