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BMJ Case Rep. 2017 Jul 1;2017. pii: bcr-2017-220493. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2017-220493.

When cancer patients suddenly have a positive pregnancy test.

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Internal Medicine, Stadtspital Triemli, Zurich, Switzerland.
Oncology, Stadtsspital Triemli, Zürich, Switzerland.
Department of Oncology, Stadtspital Triemli, Zurich, Switzerland.
Stadtspital Triemli, Zurich, Switzerland.


We present the case of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a 48-year-old woman with an active history of smoking. The patient initially presented to her general practitioner with a progressive swelling on the neck. Further investigations diagnosed a metastatic lung tumour, and palliative chemotherapy was started. After 5 months of treatment, by newly reported amenorrhoea, cautiously before a restaging CT scan of the abdomen, a pregnancy test was performed and was positive. Both the gynaecological examination and the hormonal panel yielded no signs of pregnancy. Immunohistochemically, staining of the tumour was strongly positive for β-subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) suggesting that the tumour was responsible for high β-hCG levels.Paraneoplastic β-hCG secretion from adenocarcinomas is rare. In the literature, only a few such cases have been reported. Previous studies suggested that the ability to secrete β-hCG in tumours may correlate to some extent to chemoresistance and thus, to a worse prognosis.


Lung cancer (oncology); Pathology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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