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Know More About The AFP Test?

An AFP tumor marker test is a type of blood test that estimates the levels of AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) in adults. Tumor markers are elements that are produced by cancer cells or by healthy cells in response to cancer in the body. High levels of AFP may indicate a sign of liver cancer or ovarian cancer or testicles cancer. Sometimes, a high level of AFP may indicate some noncancerous liver diseases like hepatitis and cirrhosis.


High AFP levels don’t imply you are having cancer and similarly, the normal levels don’t always exclude cancer. So, an AFP test is not solely used to screen or diagnose cancer. But this alpha fetoprotein tumor marker test is useful in the detection of cancer along with other tests. Sometimes, your doctor may suggest this test to monitor the effectiveness of your cancer treatment or he can see if your cancer has returned after the completion of the treatment.

The cost of the AFP tumor test is Rs.700 to Rs.1000, depending on your location and place.

Please check the price of the AFP tumor test in Delhi/NCR, your nearby centers and other details.

Test Summary 

Also known as total AFP, alpha-fetoprotein-L3 Percent
Test Type Blood
AFP tumor test includes To check whether you have cancer including liver, ovary and testicles
Preparation You may not need any special preparations
Reporting Within 24 hrs
Test price The cost of the AFP tumor test is Rs.700 to Rs.1000, depending on your location and place.
Also included in Health Insurance Plans
Related tests Biopsy test, MRI, Imaging tests


The Objective of this Test

This test is beneficial in the following ways.

  • Confirms or rules out a diagnosis of liver cancer or cancer of the ovaries or testicles
  • Check the progress of your cancer treatment. AFP levels may be elevated if your cancer is thriving and get down if the treatment works perfectly.
  • Monitors if cancer has returned after the completion of the treatment
  • Monitor people who have cirrhosis or hepatitis.


If you have been diagnosed with liver cancer, this test will help you to find out the best treatment for you. Some liver cancers with elevated AFP levels can be treated with targeted therapy. In targeted therapy, the doctor uses drugs or other substances that particularly attack cancerous cells without harming healthy cells. This therapy is very effective and the side effects are minimal as compared to conventional chemotherapy.

Why is this test recommended?

Your doctor may recommend this AFP tumor marker test if he/she suspects you are suffering from liver cancer or cancer of the ovaries or testicles. Your healthcare provider will suggest this test either to confirm or rule out the results of other tests.

This test is also useful if you are receiving the treatment for your cancer or you have completed your course of treatment. By performing this test, your doctor could check how the treatment is working or if your cancer has returned after treatment.

Sometimes, this test is recommended if you have noncancerous liver disease. Certain liver diseases may enhance your risk of getting liver cancer in future.

The Preparation of the Test

You may not need any special preparations for an AFP tumor marker test.

The Test Procedure

Once you reach your nearby lab or a test center, a healthcare staff will take your blood sample from a vein in your arm. The person will insert a small needle to collect the sample. Once the sample is drawn, the blood will be deposited into a test tube or vial. You may experience a certain pain when the needle goes in or out. The entire procedure will be completed within 5-10 minutes.

The Interpretation of the Results

If your results portray high levels of AFP, you may suffer from either liver cancer or cancer of the ovaries or testicles. Sometimes, high levels of AFP may indicate other cancers, including Hodgkin’s disease and lymphoma, or noncancerous liver disorders.

If you are receiving cancer treatment, you may perform this test several times during your treatment. After repeating tests, your results may show:

Your AFP levels are increasing

This is indicating that your cancer is spreading, and/or your treatment is not working properly

Your AFP levels are decreasing

This indicates your treatment is working.

Your AFP levels have not increased or decreased

This indicates your disease is stable.

Your AFP levels decreased, but then later increased

This portrays your cancer has returned after the completion of the treatment.


What are the risks of this treatment?

Since it is a blood test, the risks are negligible. You may experience symptoms like a sharp pain, bruise, local infection, etc. But these symptoms usually go away within a day or two.

Is there anything else I need to know about an AFP tumor marker test?

There is another type of AFP blood test that is recommended for some pregnant women. Though this test also measures AFP levels in the blood, still, the way is different from an AFP tumor marker test. This test is recommended in checking for the risk of certain birth defects. This test is not related to cancer or liver disease.

How accurate is the AFP test for cancer?

At a cut-off of 20ng/mL, AFP has a sensitivity and specificity of approximately 60% and 80% for HCC, respectively. But most healthcare studies have confirmed that AFP performs equally well in all patients, irrespective of liver disease or severity.

Do you need to fast for alpha-fetoprotein?

The alpha-fetoprotein serum test is performed if your doctor suspects that you are having liver cancer or certain testicular or ovarian cancers. No fasting is required for this test. But you should stop taking supplements like vitamin B7, B8, H, coenzyme R, and biotin at least 72 hours before the test. 

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