Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP)

Test ID: 


CPT code:



Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP), Serum, Tumor Marker

Clinical Use:

The most important application of AFP testing in cancer management is for testicular cancer. Although not present in pure seminoma, elevated serum AFP is closely associated with nonseminomatous testicular cancer. The measurement of AFP in serum, in conjunction with serum hCG, is an established regimen for monitoring patients with nonseminomatous testicular cancer. In addition, monitoring the rate of AFP clearance from serum after treatment is an indicator of the effectiveness of therapy. Conversely, the growth rate of progressive cancer can be monitored by serially measuring serum AFP concentration over time. Serial serum AFP testing is a useful adjunctive test for managing nonseminomatous testicular cancer.

Test Information:

The Elecsys AFP assay is intended for the in vitro quantitative determination of α1-fetoprotein in human serum and plasma to aid in the management of patients with nonseminomatous germ cell tumors.12 The determination of AFP to screen the general population for cancer is, however, not to be recommended.A1-fetoprotein, an albumin-like glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 70,000 daltons, is formed in the yolk sac, nondifferentiated liver cells, and the fetal gastrointestinal tract.13-15 Seventy percent to 95% of patients with primary hepatocellular carcinoma have elevated AFP values. The later the stage of nonseminomatous germ cell tumors, the higher the AFP values. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and AFP are important parameters for estimating the survival rate of patients with advanced, nonseminomatous germ cell tumors.17-19No correlation between the AFP concentration and tumor size, tumor growth, stage, or degree of malignancy has so far been demonstrated. Greatly elevated AFP values generally indicate primary liver cell carcinoma. When liver metastasis exists, the AFP values are generally <350-400 IU/mL.20 As the AFP values rise during regeneration of the liver, moderately elevated values are found in alcohol-mediated liver cirrhosis and acute viral hepatitis as well as in carriers of HBsAg.20,21

Specimen Type:


Requested Volume: 

0.8 mL

Minimum Volume: 

0.3 mL 

Container Type: 

Red-top tube or gel-barrier tube.


If a red-top tube is used, transfer separated serum to a plastic transport tube.

Storage Instructions:

Room temperature

Stability Requirements:



Room temperature

14 days


14 days


14 days

Freeze/thaw cycles

Stable x3

Causes For Rejection:

Citrate plasma specimen; improper labeling.

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MCI Diagnostic

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Mon – Sat: 7AM-11PM

Sun: 7AM-3PM

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