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Alpha Fetoprotein

Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP)
Catalog Number: Alpha-Fetoprotein HU-LB31
Description: Alpha-Fetoprotein (IgG) ELISA
Sample Type: Serum
Sample Size: 50 µl
Available Sizes: 96 Wells
Incubation: 1 hour(s) 30 minutes (s)
Protocol: Alpha-Fetoprotein (IgG) ELISA
Regulatory Status: RUO
Product Distribution: Available worldwide

Alpha-Fetoprotein is a normal fetal serum protein synthesized by the liver, yolk sac, and gastrointestinal tract that shares sequence homology with albumin.
It is a major component of fetal plasma, reaching a peak concentration of 3 mg/ml at 12 weeks of gestation. Following birth, it clears rapidily from the circulation, having a half life of 3.5 days, and its concentration in adult serum is less than 20 ng/ml.
AFP is of importance in diagnosing hepatocellular carcinoma and may be useful in screening procedures. AFP elevation is more common in areas where hepatocellular carcinoma is endemic, such as Africa and in patients who are HBsAg positive.
AFP is a marker for hepatocellular and germ cell (nonseminoma) carcinoma.It is a glycoprotein produced in large amounts during fetal life and is homologous to albumin. In healthy adults, less than 10 µg/L of AFP is found in the circulation. AFP is elevated in normal pregnancy, benign liver disease hepatitis, cirrhosis, as well as in cancer.
An elevated AFP has been termed by Sell "the single most discriminating laboratory test indicative of malignant disease now available." As such, it could be valuable in screening for hepatocellular carcinoma in high risk populations.
AFP is elevated in testicular germ cell tumors containing embryonal or endodermal sinus elements. A defenitive positive marker value is highly sensitive indicating relapse or response to treatment.
The AFP is less frequently elevated in other malignancies such as pancreatic cancers, gastric cancers, colonic cancers, and bronchogenic cancers. This  elevation was not necessarily associated with liver metastases.
The AFP is rarely elevated in healthy persons, and a rise is seen in only a few disease states. Elevation occurs in certain liver diseases, especially acute viral or drug induced hepatitis and conditions associated with hepatic regeneration. In general, the elevations are under 500 ng/ml and do not denote hepatocellular carcinoma. Is also elevated in ataxia-telangiectasia and in hereditary tyrosinosis.
Thus, AFP is a useful marker in hepatocellular carcinoma and germ cell tumors, the only conditions associated with extreme elevations greater than 500 ng/ml.
In both tumors it has value in diagnosis and monitoring of therapy. In the former, wich is one of the most common tumors worldwide, AFP may be of use  in screening.