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Int J Cancer. 1999 Oct 22;84(5):525-8.

Concentration of free hCGbeta subunit in serum as a prognostic marker for squamous-cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and oropharynx.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


This study was conducted to evaluate the clinical usefulness of serum hCGbeta in the diagnosis and prognosis of patients (n = 59) with cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx. As a reference marker we used squamous-cell carcinoma antigen (SCCAg). A blood sample was obtained from all patients before primary surgery. Serum hCGbeta was determined by a time-resolved immunofluorometric assay (IFMA) and SCCAg by a solid phase immunoenzymometric assay. Elevated preoperative hCGbeta levels were observed in 8 (14%) and elevated SCCAg in 12 (20%) out of 59 patients. Patients with preoperatively elevated hCGbeta had a shorter recurrence-free survival when compared with those with normal hCGbeta levels (log-rank Chi-squared = 6.83, p =.009), and the risk-ratio for recurrence during follow-up for those was 3.6 (95% CI = 1.29-9.94). In a Cox multivariate model hCGbeta (p = 0.039) and stage (p = 0.044) were independent prognostic factors. SCCAg showed no correlation with recurrence-free survival. We conclude that determination of hCGbeta in serum is a potential marker in the prognostic evaluation of patients with SCC of the oral cavity and oropharynx.

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