NSE is a glycolytic enzyme enolase (2-phospho-D-glyceratehydrolase) normally present in neurones, peripheral nerve tissues and neuroendocrine tissues, especially in the cells of the Amine Precursor Uptake Decarboxylation (APUD) system. It is in the form of dimers αγ and γγ with a molecular weight of approximately 95 kDa. Elevated levels occur in tumours of neuroectodermic or neuroendocrine origin, namely small-cell carcinoma of the lungs (SCLC), neuroblastoma, medullary thyroid carcinoma, carcinoid tumours, pancreatic endocrine tumours, seminoma and melanoma. Moderate elevations are also seen in some colorectal and breast cancers, and in patients with benign lung diseases.
SST (gold top) preferred, serum (red top) accepted
Roche Cobas E411 method.
As NSE is present in erythrocytes, plasma cells and platelets, serum or plasma must be separated from red cells within 60 minutes of venepuncture to avoid spuriously high results.