Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is the major fetal plasma protein. The concentration of AFP peaks in the fetal bloodstream at 2-3 g/l around 12-14 weeks of gestation and then falls. AFP passes into the maternal bloodstream where it may be detected by assay. Fetal malformations such as neural tube defects (seen in Down’s syndrome) elevate the maternal serum levels. Elevated AFP is seen most frequently in adults with germ cell tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma, but also in gastric, colon, biliary, pancreatic and lung cancers (~20% of patients).
Swiss-Prot Accession Number: P02771
Publications Screening for New Biomarkers for Subcortical Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
(2011) Öhrfelt A, Andreasson U, Simon A, Zetterberg H, Edman A, Potter W, Holder D, Devanarayan V, Seeburger J, Smith AD, Blennow K, Wallin A Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord Extra 1: 31–42.
Identification of distinct plasma biomarker signatures in patients with rapid and slow declining forms of COPD
(2010) Devanarayan V, Scholand MB, Hoidal J, Leppert MF, Crackower MA, O'Neill GP, Gervais FG COPD 7: 51-58.
Bead-based Multiplexed Immunoassays to Identify New Biomarkers in Maternal Serum to Improve First Trimester Down Syndrome Screening.
(2009) Koster MP, Pennings JL, Imholz S, Rodenburg W, Visser GH, de Vries A, Schielen PC Prenat Diagn 29: 857-862.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase signaling promotes growth and vascularization of fibrosarcoma.
(2008) Ding Y, Boguslawski EA, Berghuis BD, Young JJ, Zhang Z, Hardy K, Furge K, Kort E, Frankel AE, Hay RV, Resau JH, Duesbery NS Mol Cancer Ther 7: 648-658.