Alpha-Fetoprotein
(AFP)

Alternate Names

  • AFP-L3%
  • Tumor Marker

AFP is a protein found in the blood during pregnancy. AFP is a blood test that is used to diagnose neural tube defects, fetal distress, inherited defects, or multiple pregnancies. Low levels of AFP indicate the presence of Down syndrome in an unborn baby.

AFP levels are also used as tumor markers; to diagnose kidney, liver, ovarian, testicular, or liver cancer; lymphoma, or Hodgkin's disease; and to monitor your response to treatment. Improved testing methods now allow the use of AFP levels to diagnose breast, colon, lung, or stomach cancer. High levels of AFP are seen in the liver diseases cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis.

AFP levels will vary according to a baby's gestational age, and also by the laboratory doing the testing.

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