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, 303 (3), 157-9

Alpha-fetoprotein Levels in Normal Adults

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Alpha-fetoprotein Levels in Normal Adults

D Ball et al. Am J Med Sci.

Abstract

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a fetal specific glycoprotein normally produced primarily by the fetal liver. Normally, AFP levels decline rapidly after birth, reaching undetectable levels (less than 10 ng/ml) within several months after birth. The authors have developed a more sensitive radioimmunoassay, which has allowed them to study low levels of AFP in normal adults and to determine factors which may affect its normal level. Two hundred and seventy normal Houston blood donors were screened for the absence of hepatitis B and normal ALT levels. The mean AFP level was 3.04 ng/ml +/- 1.9 SD. There was a statistically significant higher level in men compared to women (p less than .004). Regression analysis demonstrated a statistically significant increase of AFP levels with age both in men (p less than .05) and in women (p less than .01). These data delineate the normal level of serum AFP in normal adults in the United States. With the normal level now defined, it becomes possible to compare levels in different populations including those exposed to hepatotoxins or hepatocarcinogens in the environment.

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