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Principal tumors that secrete AFP are endodermal sinus tumor (yolk sac carcinoma), neuroblastoma, hepatoblastoma, and hepatocellular carcinoma.In patients with AFP-secreting tumors, serum levels of AFP often correlate with tumor size.Like any elevated tumor marker, elevated AFP by itself is not diagnostic, only suggestive.

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Typically, MSAFP is measured in the beginning of the second trimester (14–16 weeks).

It may be measured alone or as part of a package of routine prenatal screening tests, such as a triple test or quad test.

MSAFP increases rapidly until about 32 weeks gestation, then decreases gradually.

After the pregnancy ends it decreases rapidly, with a half-life of about 5 days.

In the case of babies, after treatment AFP should go down faster than it would normally.

A temporary increase in AFP immediately following chemotherapy may indicate not that the tumor is growing but rather that it is shrinking (and releasing AFP as the tumor cells die).

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Superior reference ranges are produced by research on healthy subjects.

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