hCG tumour marker (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophins)
Why do we do this test?
To assist in the diagnosis of gestational trophoblastic disease (Hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma) and germ cell tumours (tumours in the testes or ovary)
To evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and in the long term follow up to detect recurrences.
It is measured in the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid around the brain) as well to detect whether cancer has spread to the brain.
HCG is a hormone produced by the placenta and normally only measurable during pregnancy. Some abnormal cancerous tumours can also produce hCG making it useful as a tumour marker.
Specimen Type
Serum, Plasma (EDTA), Plasma (Li Heparin), CSF
Instructions for specimen collection & Patient preparation
Specimen transportation & Processing
Separate serum as soon as possible. Transport separated serum/plasma in ice
Specimen storage & stability
For prolonged storage keep frozen at -20C. If analysis within 5 days stable at 0C.
Specimen storage duration
Reference Intervals & Target Values
1. Males < 2.0 IU/L
2.Non-pregnant premenopausal women <1.0 IU/L
3. Post- menopausal women <7.0 IU/L

Critical Limits
Possible Pre-analytical Errors
Gross Haemalysis
Possible Analytical Errors
Insufficient serum/plasma volume, Air bubbles, Fibrin clots.
Available Government Laboratories
Apeksha Hospital, National Hospital Sri Lanka, Medical Research Institute, National Hospital Kandy, Teaching Hospital Jaffna, North Colombo Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, Colombo South Teaching Hospital
Recommended turnaround time
1 to 2 days

Test Method


1. Sturgeon CM, Duffy MJ, Stenman UH, et al; National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry laboratory medicine practice guidelines for use of tumour markers in testicular, prostate, colorectal, breast and ovarian cancers. Clin Chem 2008 Dec;54(12):e11-79
2. Daniel W.Chan, Stewart Sell; Tumour Markers. Burtis CA, Ashwood ER. Tietz Text Book of Clinical Chemistry,3rd edition, USA, Elsevier Saunders 1999, 722-749

Last Updated : 2020-09-23 04:50:03






College of Chemical Pathologists of Sri Lanka

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