Quest Test

Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Serum Test

Quick Overview

An alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test is used as a tumor marker to help detect and diagnose cancers of the liver, testicles, and ovaries

Test #237


Availability: In stock

Also Known As AFP, Serum; Alpha1-Fetoprotein; AFP Tumor Marker
Preparation No fasting required. Stop biotin consumption at least 72 hours prior to the collection.
Test Results 1-2 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.
An alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) serum test measures the amount of AFP in the blood.  The test can imply certain kinds of cancer in males, and females, who are not pregnant, especially cancer of the testicles ovaries, liver, stomach, or pancreas. High concentrations of AFP can also be discovered in Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, brain tumors, and cancer of the kidney cells. 

The AFP test may be used to: 

  • Confirm or rule out a diagnosis of ovarian, testicular, or liver cancer.
  • See if, after therapy, cancer has returned.
  • Monitor therapy for cancer. The level of AFP often increases when cancer spreads and decreases when treatment works.
  • Monitor the general health of individuals diagnosed with cirrhosis or hepatitis. 

Higher concentrations of AFP may show cancer, most frequently associated with liver, ovarian, or testicular cancer. However, not every liver, ovarian, or testicular cancer will generate significant quantities of AFP. Other illnesses such as cirrhosis and hepatitis can lead to greater concentrations as well.

When using the test to monitor treatment, declining levels of AFP indicate a positive reaction to therapy. If levels after cancer treatment do not decrease significantly, usually to normal or close to normal levels, there may still be some tumor tissue that exists. 

If AFP concentrations begin to increase, the likelihood of recurring cancer is likely. Since AFP can be elevated in hepatitis or cirrhosis, AFP levels can be confusing at times. If concentrations of AFP are not escalated before treatment, the test will not usually be useful for tracking treatment effectiveness or recurrence monitoring. 

Please note that the purpose of this test is not for prenatal screening to assess the possibility of birth defects.

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