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Serum levels of human placental lactogen and pregnancy-specific beta 1-glycoprotein in breast cancer.

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Medicine


Br. J. Cancer (1982) 46, 279 Short Communication SERUM LEVELS OF HUMAN PLACENTAL LACTOGEN AND PREGNANCY-SPECIFIC f1-GLYCOPROTEIN IN BREAST CANCER J. C. M. P. MONTEJROa,b,*, S. BISWASC, M. A. AL-AWQATId W. P. GREENINGa, J. A. McKINNA AND A. M. NEVILLEe From the aBreast Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, Fulham Road Branch, the bDepartment of Biochemical Endocrinology and c1nstitute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Chelsea Hospital for Women, the dDepartment of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Physiology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and eLudwig Institute for Cancer Research (London Branch), Sutton, Surrey Received 9 February 1982 Accepted 24 March 1982 THE PRODUCTION by human tumours of a variety of substances, widely known today as "tumour markers", is now well recognized and could, at least in theory, provide a biochemical index to facilitate cancer detection and treatment. Unfortu- nately, no tumour marker has yet been found which is specific for malignant disease, and their value is minimal in the detection and differential diagnosis of primary localized cancers (Neville & Cooper, 1976). However, some markers have proved to be of value as aids in the detection of metastases and therapy moni- toring. The best examples are o-foeto- protein (AFP) and germ-cell tumours and hepatomas, the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and colorectal carcinomas, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and choriocarcinoma and a variety of hormones in association with the appropriate endo- crine tumours (Laurence & Neville, 1981). Tumour markers for breast cancer have been the subject of considerable research, and many claims have been made for at least 40 different markers in this disease. At present, the best markers appear to be the plasma levels of CEA, alkaline phosphatase and y-glutamyl transpeptidase (Coombes et al., 1 980a, b) but even these are of little clinical rele- vance to the earlier detection of primary and/or metastatic disease. Human placental lactogen (hPL) and pregnancy-specifi

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