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Keywords:

  • Cancer;
  • contraception;
  • immunotherapy;
  • recombinant antibodies;
  • vaccines

Citation Talwar GP, Gupta JC, Shankar NV. Immunological approaches against human chorionic gonadotropin for control of fertility and therapy of advanced-stage cancers expressing hCG/subunits. Am J Reprod Immunol 2011; 66: 26–39

The year 2011 marks the 84th year of the discovery of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) by Ascheim and Zondek. Originally considered and employed as a reliable diagnostic index for pregnancy, the multiple roles of hCG as an initiator and sustainer of pregnancy are now recognized. Besides pregnancy, the expression of hCG or its subunits is observed in a number of cancers of diverse type, in particular at advanced stage. Cancers expressing hCG/subunits have poor prognosis and adverse survival. Thus, immunological approaches against hCG have applications for control of fertility and for treatment of terminal cancers. Various mechanisms by which hCG exercises its action are discussed. These include its role as autocrine growth promoter, inhibitor of apoptosis, promotor of angiogenesis, invasiveness, and protection against rejection by the immune system. The article reviews various vaccines developed for control of fertility and for therapy of advanced-stage cancers expressing ectopically hCG/subunits. Also reviewed are the recombinant fully humanized and chimeric antibodies usable for emergency contraception, as vacation contraceptive, and as therapeutic antibodies for treatment of cancers.