Alpha subunit - serum

Last updated: Wednesday, 07, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in plain tube.

Method

Immunoassay.

Reference Interval

Female
Premenopausal: <1.0 IU/L
Postmenopausal: <2.0 IU/L
Levels in pregnancy may be: >2.0 IU/L

Male: <0.6 IU/L

Application

Detection of endocrine tumours secreting only the free α chains of the glycoprotein hormones (LH, FSH, hCG, TSH).

Interpretation

Some neuroendocrine and pituitary tumours secrete little or no intact hormone, but produce the common α subunit of glycoprotein hormones, at times in massive amounts.

Reference

Lamberts SW et al. Front Neuroendocrinol 2001; 22(4): 309-339.