Positive serum β-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) in reproductive-age women generally indicates a pregnancy, and to a lesser extent, gestational trophoblastic disease, ovarian or peripheral germ cell tumor. Besides gynecologic conditions, nongynecologic cancers can be associated with β-hCG positivity as well. The hormone in these tumors varies from detection by the immunohistochemistry studies of the tumor tissue only to a high serum level. This is illustrated by our case report of a 26-year-old woman who was diagnosed with a spindle cell osteosarcoma of the shoulder. The serum β-hCG became undetectable after chemotherapy.
Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians
After completion of this article, the reader should be able to recall that elevated serum hCG can be related to pregnancy, gestational neoplasias, and ovarian and nongynecologic tumors and explain that it is important to appreciate that the hCG detected in these conditions may differ in type and be a marker of the success of treatment.