B-Chorionic Gonadotropin

What is the B-Chorionic Gonadotropin testing?

It is a blood test detecting the levels of β-Chorionic Gonadotropin (β-CG) in the blood. β-hCG is a hormone produced by some specific cells called trophoblasts. These cells normally form the placenta, while supporting and feeding the fetus. Also, they are probably found in some testicular tumors. β-hCG is more frequently produced by non-seminomatous tumors, and more rarely by seminomatous. The choriocarcinoma, which is a specific type of testicular cancer, always secretes β-hCG.

When is the β-hCG test done?

The β-hCG test must be done in every case of testicular cancer, before surgical removal. Although cancer is diagnosed with patho-anatomical testicular examination, the detection of high preoperative β-hCG  levels has clinical value for the staging of the disease. Taken into account together with other factors, it also helps in determining the appropriate treatment and monitoring the patient.

The examination is done postoperatively:

  • For staging the disease. Persistent high β-hCG levels after orchiectomy (testicular removal) indicate that somewhere in the body there are metastatic cells that keep secreting β-hCG.
  • For treatment evaluation. In a successful therapy, β-hCG levels become normal.
  • For detecting cancer relapse. If β-hCG levels become normal after therapy and then start increasing again, this indicates that the tumor has probably recurred.

What preparation is needed for the β-hCG testing?

No special preparation is needed. All that is needed is simply taking a small blood sample before the surgical removal of testis.

How is the β-hCG test performed?

Once obtained, the blood sample is taken to the biochemical laboratory. The level of β-hCG is estimated with the use of special analyzers.

How are β-hCG test results interpreted?

Normal β-hCG values for men are up to 3 mIU/ml. In testicular cancer, every value over 3 mIU/ml should be evaluated by the therapist physician.