Elevated alpha-fetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotropin as a marker for placental trisomy 16 in the second trimester?

Prenat Diagn. 1995 Dec;15(12):1121-4. doi: 10.1002/pd.1970151207.


In a series of 2961 consecutive cases with second-trimester biochemical triple screening for Down's syndrome and neural tube defect (NTD), ten (0.3 per cent) showed an apparent increased risk for both conditions. Three cases had chromosomal abnormalities, namely trisomy 16 confined to the placenta. Since placental trisomy 16 as well as cases with increased alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are associated with (intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), oligohydramnios, and fetal demise, at least some cases with this atypical biochemical profile could be explained by this chromosomal abnormality. From our results we recommend that in cases with increased risk for both Down's syndrome and NTD, fetal karyotyping should preferably be done on a placental biopsy, especially when ultrasound in the absence of anomalies demonstrates early IUGR.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amniotic Fluid / metabolism
  • Biopsy
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / metabolism*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 16*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Maternal Age
  • Oligohydramnios
  • Placenta / ultrastructure*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Risk Factors
  • Trisomy*
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / metabolism*


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • alpha-Fetoproteins