alpha fetoprotein

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α fe·to·pro·tein

a protein normally produced during the 12th-15th weeks of gestation, decreasing thereafter, but appearing in the blood in certain tumors, such as embryonal carcinomas of the testis and ovary, hepatoma, and less often in patients with carcinomas of the pancreas, stomach, colon, or lung. When present, a useful marker in following the course of a tumor.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

alpha fetoprotein

A protein encoded by the AFP gene on chromosome 4q25 that is produced by the yolk sac and liver during embryonic development and thought to play the same role as serum albumin in adults. It bind copper, nickel, fatty acids and bilirubin and occurs naturally as a monomer, homodimer and homotrimer. Alpha fetoprotein is typically measured in two contexts: during pregnancy, either in amniotic fluid or serum as a screen for neural tube defects or other developmental defects (see table); and in adults suspected of hepatocellular carcinoma or germ cell tumours—i.e., testicular, ovarian, and far less commonly, of the stomach and pancreas (for the latter two of which AFP has no practical diagnostic utility). 

AFP elevation in pregnancy 
• Cardiovascular—Fallot’s tetralogy. 
• CNS defects—Anencephaly, spina bifida, other open neural tube defects, hydrocephaly, cyclopia, microcephaly, sacrococcygeal teratoma.
• GI defects—Oesophageal and duodenal atresia with impaired foetal swallowing, omphalocele due to transudation, gastroschisis, pseudo-obstruction and short bowel.
• Hematology—Fetomaternal haemorrhage, hydrops fetalis.
• Immunodeficiency syndromes—SCID and/or ADA deficiency, combined T- and B-cell defects, ataxia-telangiectasia.
• Miscellaneous—Cystic hygroma, Turner syndrome, foetal demise, twin gestation, congenital nephrotic syndrome.

AFP is also increased in infants at high risk of foetal death up to 4–5 months after screening, regardless of the presence of neural tube defects or multiple gestations.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hepatocellular carcinoma; correlation of serum alpha fetoprotein and tumor size.
The examinations performed in our patient ruled out the existence of cystic neuroblastoma (monitoring the dynamics of decline of the neuron-specific enolase values to normal values at 4 months of age), while the increased levels of alpha fetoprotein followed the pattern of physiological postnatal decline.
Li et al., "Alpha fetoprotein plays a critical role in promoting metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells," Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, vol.
Li, "Effects of alpha fetoprotein on escape of Bel 7402 cells from attack of lymphocytes," BMC Cancer, vol.
Special staining demonstrated that only a very few tumor cells were positive for alpha fetoprotein, despite the markedly elevated level of alpha fetoprotein in her serum.
Laboratory studies revealed that her serum alpha fetoprotein level was 7,020 ng/ml (normal: 0-10).
Of cases Abdominal distension 14 Lump/mass abdomen 05 Abdominal distension + icterus 01 Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome 01 Anemia 01 TABLE No: 4 ALPHA FETOPROTEIN LEVELS IN 11 PATIENTS OF HEPATOBLASTOMA LEVELS (IU/ml)) No.
Primary liver cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an uncommon condition and only accounts for 2-3% of all gastrointestinal cancers in the Western world.1 However, in USA its incidence appears to be increasing because of growing prevalence of hepatitis C.2 Typical presentation of HCC includes solitary mass in normal or cirrhotic liver with elevated alpha fetoprotein. However, at presentation or during its clinical course, some patients of HCC may manifest a variety of paraneoplastic syndromes including hypercholesterolemia, hypoglycaemia, erythrocytosis and hypercalcaemia.3
HCC associated with hypercalcaemia is due to either bony metastasis or secretion of hormones such as intact parathyroid hormone (PTH)4 or its related peptide (PTHrP) by the tumour which is successfully treated with either tumour resection or embolization.5 Moreover, these patients with paraneoplastic syndromes, including hypercalcaemia, usually present at an advanced stage, with high alpha fetoprotein, large tumour volume and have a poor prognosis.6
Complete blood count, liver function test, total protein, A/G ratio, serum Albumin, HBsAg, anti HCV, alpha fetoprotein, ultrasound guided liver biopsy, ultrasound whole abdomen and CTscan Abdomen, were done.
Alpha Fetoprotein levels after one month dropped to 5.58 IU/ml further dropping to less than0.525 IU/ml in six months.
However, none of the published reports on inflammatory pseudotumor have mentioned the presence of positive tumor markers (e.g., alpha fetoproteins or carcinoembryonic antigens) in these lesions.