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A monoclonal antibody (H17E2) was used in a solid-phase localisation of enzyme activity (ILEA) assay to evaluate placental-like alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) as a serum marker of testicular germ cell tumours. Single or repeated assays were performed on 213 normal blood donor and a smaller number of term pregnancy and testicular cancer sera. The detection limit of PLAP by this system was 0.14 O.D. units equivalent to 0.04iul-1. Of 50 patients with established metastatic disease tested before treatment, 88% of 16 with seminoma, 54% of 13 with mixed seminoma and malignant teratoma and 33% of 21 with malignant teratoma had serum PLAP greater than 0.2 O.D. units. This compared to an incidence of 2% in non-smokers and of 29% in smokers who had been free of disease for more than 12 months. In 15 of 22 successfully treated patients, pre-treatment serum PLAP exceeded 0.2 O.D. units (mean 0.69 O.D.) and varying (53-97%) reductions in the initial levels occurred with treatment. These results with monoclonal antibody ILEA assay suggest that measurement of PLAP levels will be useful in the management of patients with germ cell tumours, particularly seminoma.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





631 - 639


Alkaline Phosphatase, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Dysgerminoma, Female, Humans, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Isoenzymes, Male, Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal, Placenta, Smoking, Teratoma, Testicular Neoplasms