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Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP)

α-Fetoprotein (AFP) is a 70.000 Da MW oncofetal protein synthesized by liverparenchymal cells, yolk sac and gastrointestinal tract of human fetus. The peak of AFP concentration occurs between weeks 12 and 15 of gestation. After birth AFP concentration in plasma rapidly decreases to less than 5 IU/ml. AFP levels are elevated in the following clinical situation:
The main clinical applications of measurements of AFP are found in the monitoring of cancer
following treatment. However, AFP measurement may also be of clinical interest in monitoring of
pregnancy when applied to serum or amniotic fluid.

  • Cancer
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Teratocarcinomas and embryonal cell carcinoma of testis and ovaries
  • Yolk sac tumor
  • Other cancers (less than 5 %)
  • Viral diseases
  • Acute hepatitis (usually < 100 IU/ml)
  • Chronic active hepatitis (usually < 100 IU/ml)
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