AFP (tumor marker) test results

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bostonmike
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 5/26/2012 6:23 AM (GMT -6)   
confused  My hepatologist had me have a blood test for liver cancer or AFP ( tumor marker) blood test. The reference range for the test is <6.1. Since 01/2010 my scores were 7.9 units ng/ml, 4.8, 5.0,4.8, and 14.3. I tried to google what this means and found on Medi-Line Plus:
05/17/2012 12:58:00 AFP (tumor marker)
Units: ng/mL Range: <6.1

RESULT:
14.3 (#)
Note: Reference interval does not apply to newborns where very high levels are expected. Range for newborns is not available. This assay is performed on the Roche Cobas6000. Values obtained with different assay methods or kits cannot be used interchangably. The use of AFP as a tumor marker is not recommended in pregnant females. Serum levels of AFP, regardless of levels, should not be interpreted as absolute evidence of the presence or absence of disease. AFP is not intended for use as a cancer-screening test. I am not sure what this means! If someone does I would appreciate an answer or educated guess. Lately retaining fluid to the point of pain and muscle spasms in the stomach area under the ribs. Have gained 15 pounds since the beginning of March. Doc upped meds from 80 to 120 mg.s of Furosemide and from 200 to 300 mg.s of Spironolactone. I am just maintaing my weight between 213 and 216 pounds.

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 5/26/2012 8:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Mike! The AFP is a diagnostic tool, but a higher than normal range does not definitely mean that you have liver cancer.
Because your levels were pretty low until this last result, I wouldn't get upset over it. However, I hope your doctor follows up with an MRI with Gadolinium contrast or, at the least, a CT scan with contrast. If he doesn't mention this, tell him you want a scan. This is what I would do. If you do have HCC, it's best to get it early and do treatment (typically chemoembolization.)

Are you on the transplant list? If so, it will buy you more points on your MELD score if it is HCC.

Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis


"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Liver transplant recipient, Oct. 27, 2011, at Mayo Hospital, Jacksonville, FL

bostonmike
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 166
   Posted 5/26/2012 9:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Just had a M.R.I. on 05/03/2012 and my doc reported everthing was fine. Thanks for the information. In my post the info I did get said, AFP is not intended for use as a cancer-screening test. But my hepatologist said he wanted to have me give blood for liver cancer. I am still not on the liver transplant list. Everyone has asked me that question. Back in June my hepatologist supervisor or head of team said my MELD score was an 8 or 9. It might be a little higher with the recent fluid retention, Ascities and some edema in the ankles and lower legs. I have never been in the teens since I became asymptomatic in 2009. Some docs say you can live with cirrhosis or ESLD for years if you do what your supposeed to do.

Post Edited (bostonmike) : 5/26/2012 8:22:58 AM (GMT-6)


MamaLama
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3855
   Posted 5/26/2012 10:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Here is how it was explained to us:

These tumor marker tests cannot be diagnostic.

Most everyone with a tumor has high level

But

NOT everyone with high level has tumor.

Other things can cause odd readings

The docs watch carefully with odd readings but don't jump to conclusions

Hope that helps
MamaLama
Forum moderator - Hepatitis


Partner received liver transplant May 1, 2011, Jackson Memorial, Miami, FL

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 5/26/2012 11:24 AM (GMT -6)   
ML, you are correct. Docs really look for trends; i.e., whether the AFP level continues to rise, as it did with me prior to transplant It's reassuring that the MRI Mike had earlier this month showed nothing.

Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis


"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Liver transplant recipient, Oct. 27, 2011, at Mayo Hospital, Jacksonville, FL

densgirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 5/27/2012 10:30 PM (GMT -6)   
My husbands last AFP came back at 233.. From what I've learned when it reaches 500 it increases the MELD score.

densgirl

hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 5/27/2012 10:44 PM (GMT -6)   
DG, I don't know about that.

However, Mike, fluid retention, ascites, and edema have no bearing on the MELD score. It is calculated using the INR, bilirubin, and creatinine levels. If you have those numbers from your last lab work, you can calculate the MELD at this site: http://www.mayoclinic.org/meld/mayomodel6.html

Hugs,
Connie
hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis


"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Liver transplant recipient, Oct. 27, 2011, at Mayo Hospital, Jacksonville, FL
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