Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP)

Special Precautions/Comments:

Additional Information:

Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) is a glycoprotein produced in the foetus by the yolk-sac and non-differentiated liver cells. AFP is therefore not usually present in adults and is used as a tumour marker. AFP is associated with hepatocellular carcinoma or non-seminomatous germ cell tumours of the ovary and testis. It is primarily used for monitoring treatment and recurrence. 

AFP may also be elevated in benign conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and biliary tract obstruction. It should therefore be interpreted with caution in the clinical context and should not be used for screening in the general population. 

AFP is also elevated during pregnancy and is used as part of the screening for trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) in the second trimester of pregnancy.