WHAT IS HUMAN CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN (HCG) TEST (BETA SUBUNIT)?
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a glycoprotein hormone with alpha and beta subunits, which are normally produced by a developing placenta and may be produced by some germ cell tumours. The alpha sequence is identical to the follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and thyroid-stimulating hormone, and it can cause a false-positive pregnancy test if not tested along with the beta subunit. This test can detect pregnancy in as little as 1 week after conception. Serial monitoring is used to help determine the gestational age. The beta subunit is often used to follow the status of neoplasms after surgery or chemotherapy. Elevated levels have been associated with a poor outcome in clients with colorectal cancer.