Alpha Feto Protein – Serum (AFP) Overview

  • Physician may order an AFP blood test when he:

⊕ suspects that a patient has liver cancer or certain cancers of the testes or ovaries.

⊕ is monitoring a patient with chronic liver disease for the emergence of hepatocellular carcinoma or another type of liver cancer.

⊕ is monitoring the effectiveness of treatment in a patient who has been diagnosed with and treated for a cancer of the liver, testes or ovaries.

  • the amount of AFP in the blood of a pregnant woman can help see whether the baby may have such problems as spina bifida and anencephaly.
  • An AFP-L3% may be ordered to help evaluate the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma when a patient has chronic liver disease. This new test, however, is not widely used and its ultimate clinical utility has yet to be established.
  • Increased AFP levels can mean liver cancer, cancer of the ovary, germ cell tumor of the testes, cirrhosis, hepatitis, or other cancers (stomach, colon, lung, breast, lymphoma).

With an AFP-L3%, the doctor receives both a total AFP result and the percentage of AFP that is L3. If a patient has chronic liver disease and their AFP and L3% are significantly elevated, then the patient has an increased risk of having or developing hepatocellular carcinoma in the next year or two. Both AFP and AFP-L3% concentrations can be elevated, and fluctuate, in patients with chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. In these patients, a significant increase in AFP is more important than the actual numerical value of the test result.

Alpha Fetoprotein AFP, Liver, Ovarian, Testes, Fetus abonrmality

Alpha Fetoprotein AFP, Liver, Ovarian, Testes, Fetus Abnormality

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