Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a alpha1-globulin family of human plasma proteins and a glycoprotein with a molecular weight approximately 70 kDa & a 3-4% carbohydrate content. AFP is produced primarily in the liver of developing fetus. It can be found in maternal blood and in amniotic fluid since it is secreted into fetal serum. A great increase of AFP concentration in several malignant diseases mostly is primary hepatocellular carcinoma and non-seminomatous testicular cancer. Some 70-90% of patients with primary hepatocellular carcinoma and non-seminomatous testicular cancer have been observed to have high levels of AFP. High concentration of AFP also have been found in a limited number of patients diagnosed with various diseases such as gastrointestinal tract cancer, viral hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, and adenocarcinomas of lung, pancreas, and gall bladder. Since AFP is well known to be an important prognostic indicator of non-seminomatous testicular cancer, its most definitive role is on monitoring post-treatment clinical status and the post therapeutic evaluation of patients

AFP