open access

Vol 11, No 1 (2015)
Case report
Published online: 2015-03-12
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False positive result of beta subunit of hCG testing in a patient with stage IA testicular germ cell tumor during routine follow-up

Aleksandra Łacko, Katarzyna Soter
Onkol. Prak. Klin 2015;11(1):26-29.

open access

Vol 11, No 1 (2015)
CASE REPORTS
Published online: 2015-03-12

Abstract

Serum tumor markers: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG), and lactase dehydrogenase (LDH) play an important role in the staging and monitoring of germ cell tumors. We report a case of a patient diagnosed with stage IA testicular nonseminoma. After orchidectomy patient was routinely followed with monthly AFP, beta-HCG, and LDH measurement. CT of abdomen and chest were performed. In ninth month of follow up, elevation of the beta subunit of hCG was found. The patient was diagnosed with biochemical relapse because of elevated HCG level with the absence of metastases in CT of chest, pelvis and abdomen. After questioning about cannabinoids use he admitted to smoking marihuana prior to blood testing. Repeated test showed normalization of the HCG value. Previously elevated HCG level was assumed as false-positive. He was spared unnecessary chemotherapy. This case highlights the need for interpreting tumor-marker elevations with caution.Querying patients about marijuana use and retesting hCG levels after a period of abstinence from cannabinoids is strongly recommended.

Abstract

Serum tumor markers: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG), and lactase dehydrogenase (LDH) play an important role in the staging and monitoring of germ cell tumors. We report a case of a patient diagnosed with stage IA testicular nonseminoma. After orchidectomy patient was routinely followed with monthly AFP, beta-HCG, and LDH measurement. CT of abdomen and chest were performed. In ninth month of follow up, elevation of the beta subunit of hCG was found. The patient was diagnosed with biochemical relapse because of elevated HCG level with the absence of metastases in CT of chest, pelvis and abdomen. After questioning about cannabinoids use he admitted to smoking marihuana prior to blood testing. Repeated test showed normalization of the HCG value. Previously elevated HCG level was assumed as false-positive. He was spared unnecessary chemotherapy. This case highlights the need for interpreting tumor-marker elevations with caution.Querying patients about marijuana use and retesting hCG levels after a period of abstinence from cannabinoids is strongly recommended.

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Keywords

germ cell testicular tumors, cannabinoids, beta-human chorionic gonadotropin

About this article
Title

False positive result of beta subunit of hCG testing in a patient with stage IA testicular germ cell tumor during routine follow-up

Journal

Oncology in Clinical Practice

Issue

Vol 11, No 1 (2015)

Article type

Case report

Pages

26-29

Published online

2015-03-12

Bibliographic record

Onkol. Prak. Klin 2015;11(1):26-29.

Keywords

germ cell testicular tumors
cannabinoids
beta-human chorionic gonadotropin

Authors

Aleksandra Łacko
Katarzyna Soter

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