Skip to main content
Log in

The role of human chorionic gonadotropin β subunit elevation in small-cell lung cancer patients

  • Original Paper
  • Clinical Oncology
  • Published:
Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

    We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

    Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Abstract

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)-like immunoreactivity has been found in many nontrophoblastic tumours, but the biological behaviour of HCG-producing cells has not been clarified yet. The aim of the study was to estimate the frequency of serum HCG β subunit (sßHCG) elevation in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and to assess its possible prognostic role in this type of tumour. An attempt was also made to reclassify the histology in selected cases to see whether the elevated (sßHCG) level is connected with any special subtype of small-cell lung cancer. A total of 156 SCLC patients entered the study: 93 men, 63 women, median age 58 years. sßHCG activity was measured by immunoenzyme assay (Abbott EIA ßHCG 15–15) before treatment. sßHCG elevation (above 5 mIU/ml) was found in 21 of 156 patients (14%). Response to treatment after chemotherapy (complete and partial response) was obtained in only 48% of those patients in whom elevated sßHCG was found, in comparison to the 73% response rate observed in the remaining patients. Only 5% of patients with elevated sßHCG survived 2 years, in comparison to 21% surviving for 2 years among the remaining patients. The prognostic significance of elevated sßHCG and extent of disease were independent of each other (Cox's proportional-hazard model). Thus sßHCG elevation in SCLC seems to be a marker of more resistant tumours and of poor prognosis. We have not found any connection between the subtype of small-cell lung cancer and elevated sßHCG. Elevated sßHCG was found in 2 out of 11 patients with oat-cell carcinoma, in 3 out of 10 patients with an intermediate cell type and in 5 out of 13 patients with small-cell lung cancer in which the assessment of the subtype was not possible.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Abbreviations

HCG :

human chorionic gonadotropin

SCLC :

small-cell lung cancer

References

  • Bepler G, Jaques G, Oie HK, Gazdar AF (1991) Human chorionic gonadotropin and related glycoprotein hormones in lung cancer cell lines. Cancer Lett 58:145–150

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Berman R, Gusterson B, Steel GG (1985) Resistance to alkylating agents and tumour differentiation in xenografts of small cell lung cancer. Br J Cancer 51:653–658

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Broniek A, Ochnio J, Roginska E, Kwiek S, Rowinska-Zakrzewska E (1986) Occurrence of increased levels of human chorionic gonadotropin alpha and beta subunits in sera of patients with primary carcinoma of the lung. Pneumonol Pol 54:348–352

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bunn PA (1992) Lung cancer. Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Princeton, pp 35–39

  • Fukayama M, Hayashi Y, Shiozawa Y, Furukawa E, Funata N, Koike M (1990) Human chorionic gonadotropin alpha-subunit in endocrine cells of fibrotic and neoplastic lung. Its mode of localisation and the size profile of granules. Lab Invest 62:444–451

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Gropp C, Havemann K, Scheuer A (1980) Ectopic hormones in lung cancer patients at diagnosis and during therapy. Cancer 46:347–354

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Harach HR, Skinner M, Gibbs AR (1983) Biological markers in human lung carcinoma: an immunopathological study of six antigens. Thorax 38:937–941

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Heyderman E, Chapman DV, Richardson TC, Calvert I, Rosen SW (1985) Human chorionic gonadotropin and human placental lactogen in extragonadal tumours. Cancer 56:2674–2682

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hussa RO (1982) Clinical utility of human chorionic gonadotropin and alpha-subunit measurements. Obstet Gynecol 60:1–12

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kikuchi K, Itoh S, Takashita E (1991) Bronchogenic carcinoma producing human chorionic gonadotropin. Lung Cancer 7 [Suppl]:185

    Google Scholar 

  • Kimura N, Ghandur-Mnaymen L (1985) An immunohistochemical study of keratin, carcinoembryonic antigen, human chorionic gonadotropin and alpha-fetoprotein in lung cancer. Tohoku J Exp Med 145:23–38

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kozlowicz-Gudzinska I, Pietraszek A, Kaminska J (1989) Initial concentration of neoplastic biological markers AFP (alphafeto-protein), HCG (choriongonadotropin), SP1 (specific pregnancy protein) in separate types and stages of clinical advancement of lung cancer. Nowotwory 39:162–165

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Miyake M, Ito M, Mitsuoka A, Taki T, Wada H, Hitomi S, Kino T, Matsui Y (1987) Alpha-fetoprotien and human chorionic gonadotropin-producing lung cancer. Cancer 59:228–232

    Google Scholar 

  • Noda, Simodaira M, Ito H, Gonda H, Okada N, Suzuki M, Kaneko M (1990) Two cases of human chorionic gonadotropin-producing large cell carcinoma of the lung accompained with gynecomastia. Nippon Kyobu Shikkan Gakkai Zasshi 28:781–785

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • O'Connor JF, Schlatterer JP, Birken S, Krichevsky A, Armstrong EG, McMahon D, Canfield RE (1988) Development of highly sensitive immunoassays to measure human chorionic gonadotropin, its β-subunit and β core fragment in the urine: application to malignancies. Cancer Res 48:1361–1366

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stahel RA, Ginsberg R, Havemann K, Hirsch FR, Ihde DC, Jassem J, Karrer K, Maurer LH, Osterlind K, Van Houtte P (1989) Staging and prognostic factors in small cell lung cancer: a consensus report. Lung Cancer 5:119–126

    Google Scholar 

  • Walop W, Chretien M, Colman NC, Fraser RS, Gilbert F, Hidvegi RS, Hutchinson T, Kelly B, Lis M, Spitzer WO, Suissa S (1990) The use of biomarkers in the prediction of survival in patients with pulmonary carcinoma. Cancer 65:2033–2046

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • WHO (1982) The World Health Organization histological typing of lung tumours. Am J Clin Pathol 77:123–136

    Google Scholar 

  • Yakeishi Y, Mori M, Enjoji M (1990) Distribution of β-human chorionic gonadotropin-positive cells in noncancerous gastric mucosa and in malignant gastric tumors. Cancer 66:695–701

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Yoshimoto T, Higashino K, Hada T, Tamura S, Nakanishi K, Mitsunobu M, Uematsu K, Matsuoka T, Taketa K (1987) A primary lung carcinoma producing alpha-fetoprotein, carcinoembryonic antigen and human chorionic gonadotropin. Cancer 60:2744–2750

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Szturmowicz, M., Wiatr, E., Sakowicz, A. et al. The role of human chorionic gonadotropin β subunit elevation in small-cell lung cancer patients. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 121, 309–312 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01209599

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01209599

Key Words

Navigation