BACKGROUND: Earlier studies have shown that increased concentrations of certain human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) variants can cause false-negative results in some qualitative hCG devices. The objective of this study was to determine if increased concentrations of hCGβ and hCGβ core fragment (hCGβcf) cause falsely decreased results on 9 commercially available quantitative hCG assays. METHODS: Several concentrations of purified hCGβ and hCGβcf were added to 2 sets of 6 serum samples with and without a fixed concentration of intact hCG. We examined 9 widely used immunoassays to measure immunoreactive hCG. Falsely decreased results were defined as those in which the measured hCG concentration was ≤50% of expected. RESULTS: High concentrations of hCGβ (≥240 000 pmol/L) produced falsely decreased hCG measurements in 2 assays known to detect this variant. Similarly, high concentrations of hCGβcf (≥63 000 pmol/L) produced falsely decreased hCG measurements in 3 assays that do not detect purified hCGβcf. Two assays were identified that detected both hCGβ and hCGβcf, and neither produced falsely decreased results in the presence of high concentrations of these variants. CONCLUSIONS: Extremely high concentrations of hCG variants can cause falsely decreased results in certain quantitative hCG assays. Of the 9 assays examined, none exhibited falsely decreased results in the presence of hCGβ concentrations typically associated with hCGβ-producing malignancies. Two assays exhibited decreased (>50%) hCG results in the presence of hCGβcf concentrations found during normal pregnancy.