Increasing hCG concentrations during storage at +4°C with the Bayer Centaur Total hCG method

Page, K; Gomez, J; Smith, N
November 2004
Annals of Clinical Biochemistry;Nov2004, Vol. 41 Issue 6, p479
Academic Journal
Background: The interpretation of changes in serum human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) concentrations in early pregnancy requires a knowledge of the day-to-day imprecision of the method at the concentrations measured. We therefore attempted to determine the analytical imprecision of our total hCG method over a 4-week period at concentrations up to 20 000 IU/L. Methods: Serum specimens with hCG concentrations between 100 and 20 000 IU/L were collected during early pregnancy and analysed using the Bayer Centaur Total hCG method at weekly intervals after storage at +4°C and -20° C. Results: The reproducibility of hCG results over a 4-week period in refrigerated specimens with an initial hCG concentration below 1000 IU/L was poor (mean coefficient of variation = 17.4%) and there was an apparent increase in serum hCG concentrations of up to 68%. Similar changes occurred in some specimens stored at -20°C. Further experiments confirmed that significant increases can occur during the first week following specimen collection. Conclusions: Total hCG concentrations in serum specimens collected during early pregnancy increase significantly during storage when measured by the Bayer Centaur Total hCG method, possibly due to a conformational change in hyperglycosylated hCG. When this method is used for monitoring early pregnancy, specimens should ideally be analysed on the day of collection.


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