Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced at elevated levels during pregnancy as well as in gestational trophoblastic disease and due to some germ cell tumors. Additionally, hCG concentrations of a pituitary origin are sometimes detected in peri- and postmenopausal women.
Many female patients are tested for hCG before medical procedures or administration of medication that may harm a fetus. The interpretation of low-level hCG elevation in these females is problematic; such elevations might be benign or might represent malignancies such as gestational trophoblastic disease.
ARUP Laboratory Tests
Measures intact human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and free β subunit (hCGβ)
For tumor marker testing, order the beta-hCG quantitative test for tumor markers
Results obtained with different test methods or kits cannot be used interchangeably
Quantitative Electrochemiluminescent Immunoassay
Fournier T, Guibourdenche J, Evain-Brion D. Review: hCGs: different sources of production, different glycoforms and functions. Placenta. 2015;36 Suppl 1:S60-S65.
Desai D, Lu J, Wyness SP , et al. Human chorionic gonadotropin discriminatory zone in ectopic pregnancy: does assay harmonization matter? Fertil Steril. 2014; 101 (6): 1671-4.
Furtado LV, Lehman CM, Thompson C , et al. Should the qualitative serum pregnancy test be considered obsolete? Am J Clin Pathol. 2012; 137 (2): 194-202.
Greene DN, Petrie MS, Pyle AL, et al. Performance characteristics of the Beckman Coulter total βhCG (5th IS) assay. Clin Chim Acta. 2015;439:61-67.
Greene DN, Schmidt RL, Kamer SM, et al. Limitations in qualitative point of care hCG tests for detecting early pregnancy. Clin Chim Acta. 2013; 415:317-321.
Sowder AM, Yarbrough ML, Nerenz RD, et al. Analytical performance evaluation of the i-STAT Total β-human chorionic gonadotropin immunoassay. Clin Chim Acta. 2015;446:165-170.