Elevated serum alpha-fetoprotein in a patient with undifferentiated carcinoma of the gall bladder

J Clin Pathol. 1995 Nov;48(11):1061-3. doi: 10.1136/jcp.48.11.1061.


An uncommon case of undifferentiated carcinoma of the gall bladder in a 65 year old Chinese man, who presented with an increased serum alpha-fetoprotein concentration, is reported. Histologically, the tumour had a primitive appearance and was composed of a pavement-like array of poorly differentiated columnar/polygonal cells. Alpha-fetoprotein was demonstrated in some of the tumour cells using an immunoperoxidase technique. Alpha-fetoprotein secretion in this instance may have occurred because the gall bladder and the liver are of similar embryological origin. Alpha-fetoprotein may also be related to the resurgent expression of oncofetal antigens. This tumour may represent another rare cause of increased serum alpha-fetoprotein concentrations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carcinoma / blood*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / blood*
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / analysis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • alpha-Fetoproteins