If AFP is elevated, where is cancer? The case report on hereditary persistence of Alpha-fetoprotein

Hatice SARACOGLU1*, Mevlut BASKOL2, Hakan SARACOGLU3, Gulden BASKOL1

  1. Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Erciyes University, Kayseri/Turkey
  2. Department of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine, Erciyes University, Kayseri/Turkey
  3. Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Erciyes University, Kayseri/Turkey

*Corresponding author; Hatice SARACOGLU; Email address: hsaracoglu@erciyes.edu.tr

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is expressed by tumors with a high mitotic index such as hepatocellular carcinoma and germ cell tumors, therefore it is used as a tumor biomarker. Interestingly, although there is no underlying cause, elevated AFP has been reported in some genetically predisposed individuals. This is a very rare and benign condition called “hereditary persistence of AFP (HPAFP)” and an inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. To our knowledge, only 28 families have been reported to date. Some of the reported cases received inappropriate treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery. The possibility of HPAFP should be kept in mind in patients with high AFP in the absence of radiological evidence of hepatocellular carcinoma or germ cell tumor to avoid harmful procedures. It can be easily confirmed by analyzing AFP levels in other family members. We report a case of HPAFP with surprisingly higher AFP levels than previously reported cases and this is the first case reported from Turkey

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