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Hepatogastroenterology. 2004 Nov-Dec;51(60):1676-8.

Markedly elevated alpha-fetoprotein levels without hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL 60153-5500, USA.


Although low-grade elevations of AFP are associated with benign liver disease including acute and chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, AFP values above 400 ng/mL are often used as a surrogate marker for HCC. The case of a 45-year-old Caucasian woman, who while receiving interferon therapy for HCV, was found to have a marked elevation of her serum AFP level, is reported. Her baseline AFP of 7.0 ng/mL increased progressively over three months to a peak value of 734.5 ng/mL. Initial imaging was normal. Three months later, a CT scan detected two focal lesions in the dome of the liver. A post-ethiodol hepatic CT scan revealed persistent uptake at this site but fluoroscopy-guided liver biopsy failed to identify a HCC. Normalization of her AFP level occurred while she continued to receive IFN for HCV. The patient has remained stable over more than three years of follow-up. While others have reported AFP elevations in cirrhotics with HCV without evidence of HCC, to our knowledge there are no reports of an individual receiving IFN treatment for hepatitis C with AFP levels that rose over several months in the absence of a HCC.

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