Also Known As: AFP
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Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a glycoprotein that is produced in early fetal life by the liver and by a variety of tumors including hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatoblastoma, and non seminomatous germ cell tumors of the ovary and testis. It is typically present in high levels in the blood of a fetus, but the levels decrease after birth.
AFP levels can be measured through a blood test. Elevated levels of AFP may be a sign of certain types of cancer, including liver cancer and certain types of germ cell tumors. However, it's important to note that elevated AFP levels can also be caused by other factors, such as liver disease or certain medications.
Intended only as an adjunct to diagnose and monitor therapy for certain cancers of the liver, testicles, or ovaries. For pregnant women, to assess the risk of having a baby with certain chromosomal disorders, such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21) or Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18), or open neural tube defects.
Elevated levels of AFP may be a sign of certain types of cancer, including liver cancer and certain types of germ cell tumors. However, it's important to note that elevated AFP levels can also be caused by other factors, such as liver disease or certain medications.
AFP levels are often used as a tumor marker, which means that they may be measured periodically to monitor the progress of certain types of cancer. They may also be used to help diagnose cancer or to determine the likelihood of cancer recurrence.
In addition to being used as a tumor marker, AFP levels may also be used to monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatment. For example, if a person with liver cancer is receiving chemotherapy, their AFP levels may be monitored to see if the treatment is working
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It's important to note that the normal range for AFP levels may vary depending on the specific test being used and the reference range provided by the laboratory. In general, normal AFP levels in adults are typically considered to be less than 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
Serum AFP test: This is the most common type of test used to measure AFP levels. It involves taking a sample of blood from a vein, usually in the arm, and sending it to a laboratory for analysis.
Tumor marker panel: This test measures the levels of multiple tumor markers, including AFP, in the blood. It may be used to help diagnose cancer or to monitor the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
Liver function panel: This test measures the levels of several substances in the blood, including AFP, to assess the function of the liver. It may be used to diagnose liver disease or to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for liver disease.
It's important to note that a single test result for AFP levels may not provide enough information to diagnose a medical condition. It's important to consider other factors such as a person's medical history and any other symptoms they may be experiencing. If you have concerns about your AFP levels or are experiencing any unusual symptoms, it's important to discuss them with your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.