The glycolytic enzyme enolase (2-phospho-D-glycerate hydrolase, EC exists as several dimeric isoenzymes (αα,αβ, αγ, ββ and γγ) composed of three distinct subunits α, β, and γ. The γ-unit is found either in a homologous γγ- or in a heterologous αγ-isoenzyme and is known as neuron-specific enolase (NSE). The monoclonal antibodies used in the CanAg NSE EIA bind to the γ -subunit of the enzyme and thereby detect both the γγ and the αγ forms1, 2. The NSE levels are low in healthy subjects and subjects with benign diseases. Elevated levels are commonly found in patients with malignant tumors with neuroendocrine differentiation, especially small cell lung cancer (SCLC)3 and neuroblastoma4.

Quantitative determination of NSE in serum may be valuable in the management of patients with suspected or diagnosed SCLC or neuroblastoma to aid in the differential diagnosis and to monitor the effect of treatment5, 6.


  1. Paus E. and Nustad K., (1989) Immunoradiometric Assay for αγ- and γγ-Enolase (Neuron-Specific Enolase), with Use of Monoclonal Antibodies and Magnetizable Polymer Particles. Clin. Chem. 35: 2034-2038.

  2. Dahlen U., Karlsson B., Nilsson O. and Uhl W., (1995) Development of an Enzyme Immunoassay, NSE-Enzymun Test For Determination of Neuron-Specific Enolase. XXIII International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine, Montreal, Quebec.

  3. Cooper E. H. (1994) Neuron specific enolase. The International Journal of Biological Markers 9 (4):205-10.

  4. Cooper E.H., Pritchard J., Bailey C.C. and Ninane J., (1987) Serum neuronspecific enolase in children's cancer. Br. J. Cancer 56: 65.67.

  5. Schneider, P. M. et al., (2002) Lung Cancer. In “Tumor markers, Physiology, Pathobiology, Technology and Clinical Applications”, Eds. Diamandis E. P. et al., AACC Press, Washington pp 287-303.

  6. Bonner J. A., Sloan JA., Rowland KM., Klee GG., Kugler JW., Mailliard JA., Wiesenfeld M., Krook JE.,Maksymiuk AW., Shaw EG., Marks RS and Perez EA., (2000) Significance of Neuron-specific Enolase Levels before and during Therapy for Small Cell Lung Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research 6:597-601.

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