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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Serum markers in germ cell neoplasms.

Innovations in the treatment of testicular cancer, including surveillance of clinical stage I patients and curative chemotherapy for disseminated disease, have increased the need for sensitive ways to stage and monitor patients, both during and after therapy. Serum tumor markers, in combination with radiographic studies, have significantly improved our ability to evaluate and treat patients with seminomas and NSGCT. Elevated AFP and BHCG levels provide prognostic information at diagnosis, indicate persistent disease following orchiectomy or RPLND, and signal a recurrence after chemotherapy. Significantly delayed clearance of markers during chemotherapy often indicates persistent disease. Serum markers help define the duration of therapy, thus minimizing the substantial toxicities often associated with curative chemotherapy. Despite these advances, areas of concern remain. A small percentage of patients with NSGCT and the majority of patients with seminoma have undetectable levels of AFP and BHCG. The search for additional sensitive and specific serum markers in these cases has not been wholly successful. LDH, PLAP, and BFP occasionally serve as useful markers in seminoma but suffer lack of specificity. In addition, normal postoperative or postchemotherapy serum marker levels do not always ensure complete remission. This is difficult clinically when residual masses persist following therapy. Resection is always required to rule out persistent disease. The next decade may reveal additional useful serum tumor markers and potentially new imaging techniques incorporating antimarker antibodies to differentiate necrotic tissue from active disease.[1]


  1. Serum markers in germ cell neoplasms. Bartlett, N.L., Freiha, F.S., Torti, F.M. Hematol. Oncol. Clin. North Am. (1991) [Pubmed]
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