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A 34-year-old member asked:

What alpha fetoprotein level would suggest hepatocellular carcinoma?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Juan Peschiera
Dr. Juan Peschieraanswered
General Surgery 41 years experience
Alfa feto protein : Normally in the upper hundreds or thousands as i recall.
Dr. Mary Maluccio
Surgical Oncology 27 years experience
Depends : AFP is not particularly sensitive as it can be elevated in patients with viral hepatitis and no cancer and normal in patients with cancer. We use a cut off of approximately 200 to raise suspicion for hcc in patients with liver disease. In patients with a lesion in the liver and no underlying liver disease, any elevation in AFP above normal would likely be hcc.
Dr. Myron Schwartz
Surgical Oncology 45 years experience
The above applies primarily in patients with hepatitis C; with other underlying diseases AFP is much more specific for HCC. In any case, the trend can be more important than the absolute value; when every value is higher than the last HCC is highly likely whereas fluctuating values suggest hepatitis as the cause.
Oct 13, 2013

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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