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Alpha - fetoprotein (AFP)

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a 591 amino acid glycoprotein produced by the liver and yolk sac of a developing baby during pregnancy. Plasma concentrations begin decreasing at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy and fall rapidly after birth, with normal adult concentrations achieved by the age of 8 to 12 months. AFP is increased in neonates, during pregnancy and in some patients with benign liver disease.
   
AFP is usually measured to assist with diagnosis of primary hepatocellular carcinoma or non seminomatous germ cell tumour (NSGCT) and to monitor treatment or detect recurrent disease in patients with these tumours.
  
N.B.  Send AFP for maternal screening to Medical Genetics, QEUH.
   
Sample Requirements and Reference Ranges
Sample type  Serum
Container  SST
Precautions  None
Minimum volume  2 mL
Reference range  ≤6 kU/L
Turnaround time  1 day
Method  Abbott Architect
 
Quality Assurance
UK NEQAS
Last Updated: 10 July 2020