Last reviewed 01/2018

Can be caused by:

  • open neural tube defects
  • gastroschisis and anterior abdominal wall defects
  • renal defects e.g. congenital nephrotic syndrome
  • bleeding in early pregnancy - even if the pregnancy does not end in miscarriage
  • intrauterine death
  • benign causes include twins, wrong dates, thin mother

Raised AFP is also used as a marker of malignancy:

  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • choriocarcinoma
  • testicular teratoma

It may also be raised in conditions such as autoimmune chronic active hepatitis.