The Alpha-Fetoprotein AFP Test is a blood test that measures the level of AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) in a sample of your blood. AFP is a protein that the liver makes when its cells are growing and dividing to make new cells. It is normally high in unborn babies, but after birth, AFP levels drop very low. Healthy children and adults who aren’t pregnant have very little AFP in their blood. In non-pregnant people, AFP is mainly measured as a tumor marker, as it is a substance that is often made by cancer cells or by normal cells in response to cancer
Uses of the AFP Tumor Marker Test
The AFP tumor marker test is typically used to confirm a diagnosis and monitor cancer treatment. It may be requested if a tumor that produces AFP, such as liver and germ cell tumors, is suspected. Germ cell tumors are tumors that form from reproductive (germ) cells, such as those in the ovaries or testicles. AFP testing may be used to help diagnose liver or germ cell tumors, or to see how treatments are working. It is also performed during pregnancy to screen for certain fetal abnormalities
Interpreting the Results
AFP is measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), with normal levels being less than 20 ng/mL. Levels above 400 ng/mL may indicate a liver tumor or other cancer. Elevated levels of AFP may indicate cancer of the liver, ovaries, or testicles, but that isn’t always the case. For example, liver diseases or liver injuries aren’t cancerous, yet they result in higher than normal AFP levels. AFP testing is sometimes performed in conjunction with additional tumor marker testing, including beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (bHCG) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
The AFP Tumor Marker Test is a valuable tool for detecting and diagnosing cancers of the liver, testicles, and ovaries. At our laboratory, we offer accurate and reliable AFP tests to aid in the diagnosis and management of these cancers. Contact us today to learn more about our AFP test and how we can assist in your cancer care.