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Tumor Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 4033–4057

First Online: 26 September 2013Received: 17 May 2013Accepted: 01 July 2013


Participants of the Second International Workshop WS on human chorionic gonadotropin hCG of the International Society of Oncology and Biomarkers Tissue Differentiation 7 ISOBM TD-7 have characterized in detail a panel of 69 antibodies Abs directed against hCG and hCG-related variants that were submitted by eight companies and research groups. Specificities of the Abs were determined using the First WHO International Reference Reagents for six hCG variants, i.e., hCG, hCGn, hCGβ, hCGβn, hCGβcf, and hCGα, which are calibrated in SI units, and hLH. Molecular epitope localizations were assigned to the ISOBM-mAbs by comparing ISOBM-Ab specificity, sandwich compatibility, and mutual inhibition profiles, to those of 17 reference monoclonal mAbs of known molecular epitope specificities. It appeared that 48 Abs recognized hCGβ-, 8 hCGα-, and 13 αβ-heterodimer-specific epitopes. Twenty-seven mAbs were of pan hCG specificity, two thereof with no <0.1 %; epitope β1, 12 with low <1.0 %; epitopes β2-4, and 13 with high >>1 %; epitopes β3-5 hLH cross-reactivity. The majority of hCGβ epitopes recognized were located in two major antigenic domains, one on the peptide chain of the tips of β-sheet loops 1 and 3 epitopes β2–6; 27 mAbs and the second around the cystine knot e.g., epitopes β1, β7, and β10; 9 mAbs. Four mAbs recognized epitopes on hCGβcf-only e.g., epitopes β11 and β13 and six mAbs epitopes on the remote hCGβ-carboxyl-terminal peptide epitopes β8 and β9 corresponding to amino acids 135–144 and 111–116, respectively. For routine diagnostic measurements, methods are used that either detect hCG-only, hCGβ-only, or hCG together with hCGβ or hCG together with hCGβ and hCGβcf. Sandwich assays that measure hCG plus hCGβ and eventually hCGβcf should recognize the protein backbone of the analytes preferably on an equimolar basis, should not cross-react with hLH and not be susceptible to blunting of signal by nonmeasured variants like hCGβcf. Such assays can be constructed using pairs of mAbs directed against the cystine knot-associated epitope β1 Asp10, Asp60, and Gln89 in combination with epitopes β2 or β4 located at the top of β-sheet loops 1 + 3 of hCGβ involving aa hCGβ20-25 + 68-77. In summary, the results of the First and Second ISOBM TD-7 WSs on hCG provide the basis for harmonization of specificities and epitopes of mAbs to be used in multifunctional and selective diagnostic hCG methods for different clinical purposes.

KeywordshCG variants measurement Antibody standardization Epitope standardization International standards for hCG hCG IRR The International Society of Oncology and Biomarkers Tissue Differentiation TD-7 Workshop on hCG and Related Molecules.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s13277-013-0994-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: P. Berger - E. Paus - P. M. Hemken - C. Sturgeon - W. W. Stewart - J. P. Skinner - L. C. Harwick - S. C. Saldana - C.


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