HUMAN CHORIONIC GONADOTROPHIN AND SUBUNITS—HETEROGENEITY IN SERUM OF MALE PATIENTS WITH TUMOURS OF THE GENITAL TRACT

Authors

  • R. J. NORMAN,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Reproductive Physiology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College, London, and Institute of Urology, Shaftesbury Hospital, London, UK
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  • C. LOWINGS,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Reproductive Physiology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College, London, and Institute of Urology, Shaftesbury Hospital, London, UK
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  • T. OLIVER,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Reproductive Physiology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College, London, and Institute of Urology, Shaftesbury Hospital, London, UK
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  • T. CHARD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Reproductive Physiology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College, London, and Institute of Urology, Shaftesbury Hospital, London, UK
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Professor T. Chard, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London EC1A

Abstract

The pattern of secretion of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and its subunits in male subjects with tumours of the genital tract was examined by gel filtration, radioimmunoassay, immunoradiometric assay, bioassay and binding to Concanavalin A. The predominant form of hCG was the intact molecule but all patients had increased levels of free beta subunit. The intact hCG was active in a mouse Leydig cell bioassay and was normally glycosylated. High concentrations of free alpha subunit were not found and the ratio of alpha subunit: beta subunit was less than that in normal pregnancy. It is concluded that hCG-secreting tumours of the male genital tract are similar to choriocarcinoma in the female in that large quantities of intact hormone are produced with a disproportionate increase in free beta sub-unit.

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