An update on the clinical diagnostic value of β-hCG and αfP for intracranial germ cell tumors

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Abstract

© 2016 Hu et al. Background: Pathological examination combined with tumor markers has become a standard for the diagnosis of intracranial germ cell tumors (ICGCTs), but the current concept of 'secreting germ cell tumors' and three empirically highly specific diagnostic criteria (β-hCG ≥ 50 IU/L or αFP ≥ 10 ng/mL; β-hCG ≥ 100 IU/L or αFP ≥ 50 ng/mL; β-hCG > 50 IU/L or αFP > 25 ng/mL) are not based upon pathology examination or CSF cytology. Further investigation is needed to re-evaluate their value. Methods: A multidisciplinary diagnostic team was created. Valid β-hCG/αFP data were collected from cases of ICGCTs confirmed by pathology and CSF cytology (n = 58) between 1991 and 2012, and from suspected ICGCTs cases (n = 17) between 2011 and 2012 as controls [Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH), n = 12; and other intracranial tumor (ICT), n = 5]. The cut-off points for β-hCG and αFP were calculated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. Results: This study clarifies the relative rationality of one criteria (β-hCG > 50 IU/L and αFP > 25 ng/mL); confirms new β-hCG diagnostic cut-off points: CSF β-hCG ≥ 8.2 IU/L and serum β-hCG ≥ 2.5 IU/L (sensitivity of 47 and 34 %, respectively, specificity of 100 %, both; P < 0.05); and empirically adjusts the criteria for αFP to ≥ 3.8 ng/mL in CSF and to ≥ 25 ng/mL in serum. The total diagnostic sensitivity for ICGCTs finally increased from 34.6 to 65.4 % (P < 0.05, diagnostic value of CSF β-hCG exceeds 90 %). Subtype diagnosis improved with αFP in 16.7 % of non-geminomatous germ cell tumor cases. Conclusion: New evidence-based criteria of β-hCG and αFP can help improving early and formal diagnosis of ICGCTs, and is of great clinical significance.

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Hu, M., Guan, H., Lau, C. C., Terashima, K., Jin, Z., Cui, L., … Gu, F. (2016). An update on the clinical diagnostic value of β-hCG and αfP for intracranial germ cell tumors. European Journal of Medical Research, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40001-016-0204-2

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