Increased serum levels of human chorionic gonadotropin β subunit (hCGβ) were described previously in patients with bladder cancer. To obtain insight into such production of hCGβ, the expression of hCGβ 7, 8, 5, and 3 genes in bladder carcinomas and normal urothelia was investigated by reverse transcription PCR. Surprisingly, hCGβ mRNAs were detected in both normal urothelial and carcinomatous cells. However, tumor progression was characterized by different patterns of transcription of the hCGβ genes; the β7 gene was the only gene transcribed in normal urothelia and Ta tumors included in this study, whereas in addition to β 7, genes β 5, 8, and 3 were transcribed in T1 to T4 tumors. Moreover, transcription levels of the latter three genes increased with the stage of the disease. These observations show that dramatic modifications in the expression of hCGβ genes accompany progression of bladder carcinomas.

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This study was supported by grants from the Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer, Villejuif, France.

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