Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Blood
Used in the assessment of risk for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with chronic liver disease.
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a type of protein that is found in the human body in very small amounts. It is coded for by the AFP gene. Levels of this protein can be raised during pregnancy, in some cancers and in liver disease. As such, AFP is one of the triple of quad screen tests used to determine whether there are developmental abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome or neural tube defects during the second trimester of pregnancy. When there is damage to the liver, in the form of cirrhosis or hepatitis, there is a malfunction in gene regulations in these cells and as a result, the AFP gene gets activated and AFP levels rise. Therefore, this protein is helpful in detecting these diseases, as well as hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.
This test is performed in following conditions such as:
• Are above the age of 35 and are pregnant
• A previous child with a birth defect
• A significant drinking history
• Pain in the abdomen on the right upper side
People who have received monoclonal mouse antibodies may have abnormal results. For any person taking a high dose of biotin, the specimen should be drawn at least eight hours after the last dose.
Estimated Time Taken
Turnaround for this test is typically 2-3 business days.