1. AFP is a protein normally made by the fetal liver that is also produced by hepatocellular carcinoma and several other GI tumors.
2. Current antibody-based assay methods detect AFP in about 85% of hepatomas.
3. AFP also appears occasionally in settings associated with hepatocyte necrosis (e.g., active alcoholic cirrhosis).
4. At present, AFP isn’t normally used for screening or primary diagnosis. In cases where it is present, it is useful for following the response to treatment.