Clinics and Departments

Laboratory Services

Lab Dept:


Test Name:


General Information

Lab Order Codes:



Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Tumor Marker, plasma or serum

CPT Codes:

82105 – Alpha-fetoprotein; serum

Test Includes:

AFP tumor marker level reported in ng/mL.


Test Indications:

Useful for the follow-up management of patients undergoing cancer therapy, especially for testicular and ovarian tumors and for hepatocellular carcinoma. Often used in conjunction with human chorionic gonadotropin.

Lab Testing Sections:

Chemistry - Sendouts

Referred to:

Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML Test: 8162/AFP)

Phone Numbers:

MIN Lab: 612-813-6280

STP Lab: 651-220-6550

Test Availability:

Daily, 24 hours

Turnaround Time:

1 - 3 days

Special Instructions:

Amniotic fluid should not be sent because this test is only used as a tumor marker. Diagnosis should be confirmed by other tests or procedures. Mayo will not routinely analyze specimens from females of childbearing age unless a suspected tumor diagnosis is specified.


Specimen Type:



Red top tube

Draw Volume:

1.8 mL (Minimum: 1.5 mL) blood

Processed Volume:

0.6 mL (Minimum: 0.5 mL) serum


Routine venipuncture

Special Processing:

Lab Staff: Centrifuge specimen, remove serum aliquot into a screw-capped round bottom plastic vial. Store and ship at refrigerated temperatures. Forward promptly.

Patient Preparation:


Sample Rejection:

Mislabeled or unlabeled specimens


Reference Range:

<6.0 ng/mL

Note: Reference values are for non-pregnant subjects only; pregnancy may cause elevated AFP values. Range for newborns is not available, but concentrations over 100,000 ng/mL have been reported in normal newborns, and the values rapidly decline in the first 6 months of life.

Serum markers are not specific for malignancy and values may vary by method.

Critical Values:



This assay is intended only as an adjunct in the diagnosis and monitoring of AFP-producing tumors. The diagnosis should be confirmed by other tests or procedures. AFP is not recommended as a screening procedure for cancer detection in the general population.This test is not intended for the detection of neural tube defects. Higher values are found in newborns and pregnant women. Not useful in patients with pure seminoma or dysgerminoma.

Amniotic fluid should not be sent, because this test is only used as a tumor marker. This test is not the correct AFP test for pregnant patients.


Two-site Immunoenzymatic (Sandwich) Assay


Mayo Medical Laboratories Web Page October 2014


11/16/2009: Plasma samples no longer accepted at Mayo. Send serum only.
7/8/2010: Specimen storage changed from frozen to refrigerated.

  Lab Test Directory
    Microbiology/ Virology
    Other Fluids
    Transfusion Services

  Search Lab Test Directory
    List All Documents

  Lab Staff

  E-mail Lab Services