May 28th, 2018

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Hyperglycosylated Human Chorionic Gonadotropin and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Free beta-Subunit: Tumor Markers and Tumor Promoters
Authors:  Laurence A. Cole, M.D., Ph.D., and Stephen A. Butler, Ph.D.
  Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a heterogeneous glycoprotein hormone comprising an alpha-subunit and beta-subunit that can vary in peptide and carbohydrate structure. After conception, hCG produced by early trophoblast cells acts on luteinizing hormone (LH)/hCG receptor corpus luteum cells to promote progesterone production and establish maternal recognition of pregnancy. hCG is not simply 1 molecule, and 2 variants of hCG appear to have independent activities in promoting tumor cell growth, invasion and malignancy. Hyperglycosylated hCG (H-hCG), produced by cytotrophoblast cells, is a marker for cytotrophoblast cells and tumor marker for gestational trophoblastic diseases. H-hCG promotes growth and invasion in these cells during pregnancy implantation, and growth in varying degrees by many nontrophoblastic neoplasms. beta-hCG is a marker of poor prognosis shown to promote growth and invasion in vitro, suggesting autocrine growth factor properties. Vaccines to b-hCG have been successfully demonstrated, suggesting a potential adjuvant therapy in cancer treatment. Although sufficiently distinct in both structure and occurrence, similarities have been observed between H-hCG and beta-hCG as promoters of cell growth, invasion and malignancy. It is somewhat irregular for 2 structural variants of a molecule to have independent actions, actions very different to the gonadotropic function of the established hormone hCG. (J Reprod Med 2008; 53:499-512)
Keywords:  beta-subunit, cancer, gestational trophoblastic disease, human chorionic gonadotropin, hyperglycosylation
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