Neuron Specific Enolase (NSE)

Neuron Specific Enolase in serum measured by electrochemiluminescence on the Roche e602 system.
Clinical details: 
Neuron specific enolase (NSE) is a cell‑specific isoenzyme of the glycolytic enzyme, enolase. It is found at high concentrations in neural tissue, cells with neuroendocrine function, platelets and erythrocytes. NSE is a valuable marker of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), with elevated levels being found in 60-81% of SCLC. Levels of NSE in SCLC patients correlate with tumour burden, number of metastatic sites and response to treatment. Increased levels of NSE have been reported also in non‑small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but its use has not yet been widely accepted. NSE is also present in malignant tumours with neuroendocrine differentiation, including neuroblastoma (NB), where increased levels are seen in all stages of NB. Elevated NSE levels may also occur in a wide variety of other tumour diseases and clinical conditions including melanoma, seminoma, renal cell carcinoma, Merkel cell tumour, carcinoid tumours, dysgerminomas and immature teratomas, and malignant phaeochromocytomas. Due to its high concentration in neural tissue, elevated NSE is seen in cerebral tissue damage due to head injury or following ischaemic stroke, intracerebral haemorrhage, inflammatory brain diseases and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It is a valuable prognostic marker in the assessment of cognitive function post cardiac arrest.
Reference range: 

≤16.3 µg/L 

Sample type and Volume required: 
Serum only; plasma samples are not acceptable. Haemolysed samples will potentially give falsely elevated results and are unsuitable for analysis.
250 µL
Turnaround time: 
24 hours
Special sample instructions: 

Centrifuge blood within 1 hour. NSE in erythrocytes and platelets leads to elevated results in haemolysed or incorrectly centrifuged samples (e.g. extended standing time prior to centrifugation).

Storage and transport: 
For external samples, please transport frozen. Cell-free serum/plasma is stable for 6 hours at 20-25 °C, 24 hours at 2-8 °C and 3 months at -20 °C. For sample shipment, samples should be stored frozen. Repeated freezing and thawing of samples should be avoided (freeze only once).
Blood Sciences Department-Guy's And St Thomas' Hospital
Result Query: 020 7188 8008
St Thomas' Hospital
North Wing - 5th Floor
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
Contact: 020 7188 9247

Guy's Hospital
Southwark Wing - 4th Floor
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT
Contact: 020 7188 4781
Automated Chemistry Laboratory at Guy's and St Thomas' Clinical Advisory Service
Monday – Friday, 09:00-17:00 h: 07738897061
Out of hours, weekends & bank holidays: find details on Rotawatch on Trust intranet GTi, or contact via GSTT switchboard.
For clinical advice or interpretation of results, please contact the laboratory in the first instance.

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Last updated: 20/12/2017