A sensitive and specific enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay was used in a retrospective study of serum levels of placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) in testicular cancer. Sixteen of 28 men with active seminoma had elevated PLAP levels, and 71% had elevated levels of either PLAP, human chorionic gonadotropin, or both. Only four of 22 men with active nonseminomatous cancer had elevated PLAP levels, and the levels were normal in all control patients, including 33 men apparently cured of testicular cancer. In six of ten serial studies, PLAP levels provided information not otherwise available that would have been useful clinically, and the levels never were elevated inappropriately. Our data suggest that PLAP is a clinically useful serum tumor marker for seminoma.
Supported by Grants CA 21967 and Cancer Center Support Grant CA 30199 from the National Cancer Institute and by research funds from the Veterans Administration.