Biological markers in breast carcinoma: II. Clinical correlations with human chorionic gonadotrophin

Douglass C. Tormey, T. Phillip Waalkes, Richard M. Simon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Serum hCG levels were measured in female patients with breast carcinoma and examined with respect to the clinical stage of disease, the clinical tumor burden, prognosis, and the organ sites of involvement. Elevated levels were observed in 65/134 (48.5%) patients with metastatic disease, 5/14 (35.7%) patients pre‐operatively, and in 9/33 (27.2%) N+ patients from one‐six months post‐operatively. The greatest proportion of elevated values (60.5%) was in patients with one metastatic site of involvement. Although no correlations were demonstrated between the preoperative or postoperative samples and subsequent disease recurrence, it was observed that 4/10 patients who did have a recurrence had preceding hCG elevations. In metastatic disease the level in 13 patients starting with values > 5.8 mIU/ml fell with the attainment of a response or rose with therapeutic failure. The hCG level rose from normal to >6.1 mIU/ml in six additional patients that developed progressive disease. A normal hCG level was associated with a 94.5% response rate to combination chemotherapy whereas the response rate with levels >5 mIU/ml was 71.4%. Only hepatic involvement was associated with a disproportionate incidence of elevations, being 63% compared to 42–47% for other sites. Monitoring hCG levels may be of prognostic use in patients being treated with selected chemotherapy programs for metastatic disease. It appears that further studies are warranted to ascertain if these results will extend to additional treatment approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2391-2396
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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