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AFP: Liver Function Test

for Veterans and the Public

AFP (Alfa-fetoprotein)

AFP is a protein that is present in patients with liver disease. AFP is also a "tumor marker" and may be used to see if a patient has liver cancer. (Liver cancer is also called hepatocellular carcinoma).

Explanation of test results:

A high level of AFP might mean that a patient has liver cancer. However, sometimes the AFP is high when there is active liver disease but no cancer. Usually, the AFP test needs to be interpreted by a doctor in combination with pictures of the liver taken with ultrasound or CT scan.

Other things to know:

  • An elevated AFP level needs to be interpreted by your doctor. A high AFP level may just mean you have an active liver.
  • AFP can be elevated in other types of cancers and in a normal pregnancy.