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Laboratory Medicine

Test Directory / Alpha fetoprotein

Alpha fetoprotein

Brown clotted serum, gel barrier

TestAlpha fetoprotein
Common AbbreviationsAFP
Tube typeBrown clotted serum, gel barrier
Clinical IndicationAFP is a major serum protein in the foetus, reaching its peak at 13 weeks gestation. Its concentration decreases rapidly towards birth. The re-appearance of elevated AFP concentrations in adults has been seen not only during pregnancy but also in conjunction with several benign & malignant diseases. Elevated serum AFP concentrations may be seen in patients with non-seminomatous testicular cancer & other malignancies such as hepatocellular carcinoma, ovarian cancer, GI cancer & pulmonary cancer. Serum AFP is also frequently elevated in benign hepatic conditions such as acute viral hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis & cirrhosis. The main clinical applications of AFP are monitoring of patients with non-seminomatous germ call tumours (in combination with HCG), as a prognostic marker for non-seminomatous germ cell tumours, as a diagnostic aid for hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatoblastoma and screening for hepatocellular carcinoma in high risk populations.
Specimen TypeBlood
Sample typeSerum
Minimum Volume0.5mL If requesting more than 10 tests please send an additional brown clotted serum sample.
Special PrecautionsNo special requirements
Stability5 days at 20 - 25°C, 14 days at 2 - 8°C and 3 months at -20°C
Turnaround TimeInpatient: 24 hours Outpatient/ GP: 24 hours
Reference Interval< or equal to 5.8 KU/L ( Quoted by the manufacturer)
LimitationsAnalysis should not be performed on grossly haemolysed, icteric or lipaemic samples. The assay is unaffected by biotin (< 4912 nmol/L or < 1200 ng/mL) No interference was observed from rheumatoid factors up to a concentration of 1500 IU/mL. In rare cases, interference due to extremely high titers of antibodies to analyte specific antibodies, streptavidin or ruthenium can occur. In vitro tests were performed on 16 commonly used pharmaceuticals. No interference with the assay was found. In addition, several special cancer drugs were tested. No interference with the assay was found.
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